Samsung unleashes AI on Galaxy S24 series

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 18 Jan 2024
Samsung’s AI-powered Galaxy S24 series officially launched at Galaxy Unpacked last night.
Samsung’s AI-powered Galaxy S24 series officially launched at Galaxy Unpacked last night.

Samsung has officially brought artificial intelligence (AI) to its smartphone range, unleashing Galaxy AI for its latest Galaxy S series range last night.

Livestreamed to a global audience from San Jose, California, Samsung announced the launch of its flagship smartphones in its Galaxy S24 series – the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Galaxy S24+ and Galaxy S24.

The South Korean smartphone maker’s AI-powered features in the S24 series include AI photo editing, text and call translations, and a new way to search online.

“The Galaxy S24 series transforms our connection with the world and ignites the next decade of mobile innovation,” said TM Roh, president and head of Mobile eXperience Business at Samsung Electronics.

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

Speaking at the local launch event last night, Justin Hume, vice-president for mobile experience at Samsung South Africa, said the world today is reaching a revolutionary inflection point, noting AI as the buzzword throughout 2023.

“AI has not been present on mobile devices in its true sense. Sure there are applications…but it hasn’t been there. That is changing with Galaxy AI, which is a phrase for the full experience of both on-device and cloud-based artificial intelligence. It’s Samsung’s proprietary innovation and it’s our partnership with pioneers in this market such as Google and Microsoft.

“The brand new Galaxy S series is going to democratise AI and bring life-changing experiences to our consumers. We’ve packed all the possibilities that are found on artificial intelligence into this product.”

Anisha Bhatia, senior technology analyst at data and analytics firm GlobalData, comments: “Samsung is one of the foremost smartphone companies in the world, and its new Galaxy S24 series with Galaxy AI is Samsung’s artificial intelligence moment in the sun. AI has become the biggest buzzword in recent times and is a crowd-facing attribute when marketed, improving the user experience. Samsung certainly has the resources and the scale to market this feature and make consumers aware of edge-AI use cases.

“On-device AI will bring internet-less search capability to mainstream phones while keeping data more personalised and private since the data remains on the device rather than being sent to the cloud for processing. 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?”

Circle to Search with Google is an intuitive, gesture-driven way to search online.
Circle to Search with Google is an intuitive, gesture-driven way to search online.

To open up mobile AI, Samsung and Google Cloud have entered into a new multi-year partnership to bring Google Cloud’s generative AI technology to Samsung smartphone users around the globe.

According to Google, Google Cloud and Gemini models are unlocking new generative AI functionality on Galaxy devices, for example, Note Assist and Transcript Assist.

Note Assist features AI-generated summaries, template creation that streamlines notes with pre-made formats and cover creation to make notes easy to spot with a brief preview. For voice recordings, when there are multiple speakers, Transcript Assist uses AI and speech-to-text technology to transcribe, summarise and even translate recordings.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP for platforms and ecosystems at Google, said the multi-year partnership between the companies aims to deliver helpful AI experiences and services to Samsung users.

Lockheimer explained that since the beginning of Android, people have turned to Google Search to feed their curiosity and unlock knowledge right from the palm of their hands in any place in the world.

Samsung’s partnership with Google Cloud has powered Circle to Search, an intuitive, gesture-driven way to search online.

“With a long press on the home button, users can circle, highlight, scribble on or tap anything on Galaxy S24’s screen to see helpful, high-quality search results. Seeing a landmark in the background of a friend’s social media post or a surprising fun fact on YouTube Shorts can quickly become an accurate search to learn more – without having to leave that app.

“And depending on a user‘s location, for certain searches, generative AI-powered overviews can provide helpful information and context pulled together from across the web, and users can ask more complex and nuanced questions.”

Galaxy AI also introduces meaningful intelligence that defies language barriers with Live Translate, a two-way, real-time voice and text translations of phone calls within the native app. No third-party apps are required, and on-device AI keeps conversations completely private.

The feature allows the user to chat with another student or colleague from abroad, book a reservation while on vacation in another country, for example.

With Interpreter, live conversations can be instantly translated on a split-screen view so people standing opposite each other can read a text transcription of what the other person has said. It also works without cellular data or WiFi.

For messages and other apps, Chat Assist helps perfect conversational tones to ensure communication sounds as it was intended: like a polite message to a co-worker or a short and catchy phrase for a social media caption.

“AI built into Samsung keyboard can also translate messages in real-time in 13 languages. In the car, Android Auto will automatically summarise incoming messages and suggest relevant replies and actions, like sending someone your ETA, so you can stay connected while staying focused on the road,” says Samsung.

Pre-orders for the Galaxy S24 series are currently open, with sales slated for 9 February.

In terms of pricing, customers can expect to pay R22 499 for the Galaxy S24, R25 499 for the Galaxy S24+ and a hefty R32 499 for the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

The S24 Ultra colours include titanium gray, titanium black, titanium violet and titanium yellow, while the S24+ and S24 colours include onyx black, marble gray, cobalt violet and amber yellow.

All three models will come with additional colours available online only.