Samsung launched its new lineup of flagship phones at its Unpacked event in San Jose, California.
The $799 Galaxy S24, the $999 S24+, and the $1,299 S24 Ultra. The phones come with on-device artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of Samsung’s Galaxy AI which is based on Google’s Gemini large language model (LLM).
Samsung puts AI front and centre
Samsung is one of the foremost smartphone companies in the world, and its new Galaxy S24 series with Galaxy AI is Samsung’s AI moment in the sun. AI has become the biggest buzzword in recent times and is a crowd-facing attribute when marketed well, improving the user experience, and Samsung is certainly putting AI front and centre in its marketing as seen at the January 17, 2023, Unpacked event.
The AI features are geared toward writing, photography, and communication, which are accessible and visible to mainstream consumers in their daily lives. Samsung uses Google’s Gemini LLM for its Galaxy AI, adding another layer to its already complicated partnership with Google.
Circle to search
The Galaxy AI offers similar features to Google’s Bard such as support for the Circle to Search feature, which allows for a Google search by just circling something on a phone screen and tapping a button. But LLMs are notoriously erratic and Samsung’s Galaxy AI remains untested. Alphabet’s market value decreased $100bn with one erroneous factual answer by Bard, its GenAI chatbot, at its soft launch in February 2023, highlighting the importance, and high expectations, of this technology to investors.
The phones use a combination of cloud-based AI processing as well as on-device AI. For example, Samsung Notes uses cloud-based processing to summarize, format, and adjust the ‘tone’ of writing. However, photo editing and translation happen on the device – translation features are built into the keypad of the S24 phones.
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On device AI
On-device AI will bring internet-less search capability to mainstream phones, while keeping data more personalized and private since the data remains on the device rather than being sent to the cloud for processing.
Samsung is giving consumers the choice to use either AI attribute by manually changing the setting to on-device AI to keep data private.
In addition, Samsung is bringing its Galaxy AI to even its older devices, whereas consumers must buy Google’s Pixel 8 Pro model if they want all of Google’s AI smarts. Galaxy AI will come to the S23 series, the S23 FE, Z Fold 5 and Flip 5, and Tab S9 series via the OneUI 6.1 update by June 2024.
As Samsung once jumpstarted a 5G phone upgrade cycle, it will likely do so again with its on-device AI phones. Moreover, while the benefits of 5G were not as visible to the consumer, Galaxy AI’s benefits should be more apparent; the more a consumer uses AI, the more enhanced it gets with additional use cases emerging. And what better place to include AI than devices that consumers live their lives on?