Samsung unpacks generative AI into the Galaxy S24

18 Jan 2024

The Galaxy S24 smartphones. Image: Samsung

After a difficult year of plummeting profits, Samsung has teamed up with Google to bring various generative AI features to its flagship series of smartphones.

Samsung has showcased its latest batch of smartphones at the first big event of 2024 and is using generative AI as its key selling point.

At the company’s annual Unpacked event, Samsung revealed that the Galaxy S24 range will have a batch of AI features focused on improving communication and translation. One of the key features listed is live translate, which will offer two-way, real-time voice and text translations of phone calls without the need for third-party apps.

Samsung said its the upcoming interpreter feature will instantly translate live conversations on a split-screen view, to let people read a text transcription of what the other person has said while standing near each other.

Other generative AI features include chat assist to help users fine-tune their message to suit a certain style, such as a polite message to a coworker compared to a more relaxed chat with family.

TM Roh, the president and head of Samsung Electronic’s MX business, said the Galaxy S24 phones will ignite “the next decade of mobile innovation”.

“Galaxy AI is built on our innovation heritage and deep understanding of how people use their phones,” Roh said. “We’re excited to see how our users around the world empower their everyday lives with Galaxy AI to open up new possibilities.”

The company has also partnered with Google Cloud to bring various generative AI features to the new smartphones. One of those features is Imagen 2, Google’s latest text-to-image generator. Samsung said the S24 series will also use Gemini Nano, an on-device large language model made by Google and delivered as part of the Android 14 operating system.

Samsung claims the Galaxy S24 series will be the “new era of mobile AI”. Forrester VP principal analyst Thomas Husson believes that new era is “not quite yet” but spoke positively about the impact AI could have on mobiles in the future.

“In the future, I believe AI will enable our smartphones to become our sixth sense,” Husson said. “Coupled with sensors and branded ecosystem approaches, they will anticipate our needs and deliver more contextual, invisible and immersive experiences.

“With a personal AI assistant in your pocket, the way we interact with technology and brands will change.”

Husson said Samsung is “leveraging the AI hype” by smartly communicating on the new features that focus on generative AI, such as AI-boosted cameras and photo editing tools integrated with social media apps.

“There is a great opportunity to deliver new experiences now that GenAI is seeping into consumers’ lives,” Husson said. “Boosted performance of the new devices will help Samsung exploit its nine-month window of opportunity to take leadership in the premium smartphone market before the launch of Apple’s iPhone 16.”

Samsung reported a drop in its earnings in recent quarters, as various macroeconomic issues have eaten into the chip manufacturer’s profits over the past year.

A forecast from the company in July 2023 warned that its quarterly operating profit was roughly 600bn won, a decline of nearly 96pc compared to the same period the previous year.

Samsung saw a similar profit drop of roughly 96pc in the first quarter of 2023, while its profits for the last quarter of 2022 were Samsung’s lowest since 2014.

S24 features

Outside of the key AI features being advertised by Samsung, the Galaxy S24 models boast an updated camera – which was a key feature of the S23 models announced last year.

The S24 Ultra model comes with a five times optical zoom lens and enhanced digital zoom functions, letting users have “crystal clear results” even at 100 times magnification. The new phone will also be able to take clearer photos in dim light conditions, according to Samsung.

The company said the Galaxy S24 Ultra comes with wider optical image stabiliser angles and enhanced hand-shake compensation, to reduce blurriness in photos or videos. And of course, the new models come with AI editing tools to enhance whatever is recorded from the phone’s camera.

In terms of power, Samsung said the Galaxy S24 Ultra is equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile platform, to ensure it can process AI software efficiently. The company said the latest Galaxy series have enhanced displays, more powerful gaming capabilities and design enhancements to appear slimmer than before.

The smartphones also come with Samsung Knox, a multi-layer cybersecurity platform to protect users from vulnerabilities. The company said this offers end-to-end secure hardware, real-time threat detection and collaborative protection.

The Galaxy S24 models are available for pre-order in Ireland. The starting cost for the basic S24 model is €919, while the S24 Plus starts at €1,159. The S24 Ultra boasts the biggest price tag, starting at €1,469 for the 512Gb version.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic