Samsung bets heavily on AI tricks to boost Galaxy S24 appeal

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Samsung has leaned heavily into AI tricks for its latest premium S24 Android phones, including instant phone call translation, new Google search and advanced image and video-editing features as it attempts to reignite waning consumer interest.

The Galaxy S24 series, launched at an event in California on Wednesday, is led by the largest and most expensive titanium-clad “Ultra”, which features the very latest Qualcomm chips, the brightest screens and most powerful cameras. But in a change for the dominant South Korean firm, hardware updates have taken a backseat to flashy features powered by its new Galaxy AI brand.

Much of its additions play catchup with the competition from Google’s Pixel range and others, including the use of the Android-maker’s Gemini AI models. Samsung’s new live translate feature allows real-time, two-way phone, voice and text conversations between 13 different languages, similar to that offered by Google Translate, while its “Chat Assist” helps check messages for the appropriate tone, going beyond simple spelling and grammar.

A display featuring a range of Samsung smartphones with features powered by AI.
A display featuring a range of Samsung smartphones with features powered by AI. Photograph: Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson/AAP

The phone’s video and photo editing features are packed with generative AI tech. These include the usual removal of objects, backgrounds and image correction, while its AI can produce instant slow-mo videos from your regular videos by generating additional frames to slow down the action. Samsung’s image editor will add a watermark and metadata to any AI-altered content, a move broadly welcomed by analysts.

Ben Wood, the chief analyst at CCS Insight, said: “The Galaxy S24 series devices, together with Google’s Pixel range, mark the dawn of the consumerisation of AI in smartphones. This is a trend that will be echoed by all smartphone makers, including Apple, as they increasingly add a growing number of AI-powered capabilities to their new devices.”

Google partnered with Samsung to introduce a new way to Google called Circle to Search, which is launching on the 31 January on select Androids, including the S24 and Pixel 8 series. Users simply hold down the home button or gesture bar, circle what they want to search for on the screen and Google’s AI does the rest.

Samsung also joined Google in offering seven years of software support for the new phones so they can be safely used for longer, and is using of wider variety and quantity of recycled materials in the S24’s construction in an effort to soften its environmental impact.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. Photograph: Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson/AAP

Samsung will hope that its push to AI will help boost sales of its phones, which have recently stagnated in the face of stiff competition from Apple and Chinese brands globally. It recently lost its top spot in the phone market for the first time in 12 years to the iPhone maker.

But according to Wood, Samsung’s boost in sales will heavily depend on its marketing blitz for the phones to raise awareness and break through consumer apathy: “Success will require crisp communication of the benefits and continued expansion of the use cases.”

Samsung now has a nine-month window of opportunity to try to retake the leadership of the premium segment, particularly in its largest markets of the US and China, before the inevitable launch of Apple’s next-gen iPhone in September.

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