Unpacked event shows plenty of new uses for AI
Samsung unveiled its latest premium smartphone Samsung Galaxy S24 at Unpacked last and it was, as it happened, packed with AI features.
Samsung again has three premium phones ready to go: S24, S24+ and S24 Ultra. The regular S24 is 6.2″ and uses an Exynos 2400 chip. It has at least 8GB of working memory and a 4000 mAh battery. In terms of cameras, Samsung offers a 50MP main camera, 12 MP wide-angle lens and a 10MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom.
The screen of the S24 Ultra is 6.8″ and the smartphone has a 5000mAh battery. The device gets four cameras on the back: a 200MP main camera, a 50MP periscope camera, a 12MP wide-angle lens and a 10MP telephoto lens for 3x optical zoom. The chip is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is equipped with Corning Gorilla Armor cover material. According to Samsung, this material offers an “unparalleled combination of scratch resistance and clarity,” allowing for better viewing in sunlight and ensuring optimal protection against damage. Compared to a typical glass surface, Corning Gorilla Armor reduces reflection by up to 75%.
The three smartphones run on Android 14 with the Samsung One UI 6.1 shell. This shell introduces Galaxy AI and with it Samsung is launching a number of features that work with artificial intelligence. For example, you can live translate messages in another language and customise the writing style of a message.
By far the most impressive feature in the new Galaxy series, according to Samsung itself, is the Circle to Search with Google feature. The feature allows you to circle any image, after which you are automatically shown more information.
Life at the office also gets a little easier. With Note Assist, you start a voice recording during a meeting to then receive structured notes.
Samsung announced that it will make Google Cloud’s generative AI technology available to its users worldwide. Samsung is the first Google Cloud partner to make Gemini Pro and Imagen 2 accessible on Vertex AI via the cloud on its smartphones.
Gemini can quickly understand and combine various types of information, such as text, code, images and videos. These include for applications such as Notes, Voice Recorder and Keyboard. In addition, the collaboration provides access to essential Google Cloud features, including security, safety, privacy and data compliance.
Users of the Galaxy S24 series directly use Imagen 2, according to Samsung, Google DeepMind’s most advanced text-to-image technology to date. This collaboration makes secure and intuitive photo editing capabilities easily accessible.
The S24 series also uses Gemini Nano, an on-device Language Model (LLM) as part of the Android 14 operating system.
The S24 series will get seven years of security and software updates. Currently, that’s still four years. It is presumably the answer to Google, which gives its latest Pixel devices the same lifespan.
The question is whether Samsung is wise to announce a new premium device so early in the year, less than three weeks after the holidays.
Samsung recently issued a profit warning, reporting declining returns for a sixth quarter in a row. The South Korean electronics group’s operating profit fell 35% to 2,800 billion won (€1.94 billion), from October to December with falling smartphone sales partially to blame.
Worse still, Apple managed to knock Samsung off its throne. In 2023, more copies of the iPhone were delivered than any other phone.
According to IDC, Apple shipped 234.6 million iPhones last year, compared to Samsung’s 226.6 million devices. That Samsung is sinking is because Chinese manufacturers are increasingly dominating the market.
The top five after Apple and Samsung are Chinese, with Xiaomi (145.9 million), Oppo (103.1 million) and the relatively unknown Transsion (94.9 million).
The new smartphones will ship from 31 January, but are available now starting at €899 for the S24, €1149 euros for the S24 Plus and €1,449 for the S24 Ultra.