Article Originally Published January 27, Updated January 28.
With Galaxy AI, Samsung has made significant strides in establishing itself as the frontrunner in mobile artificial intelligence, but its approach is not devoid of issues.
First and foremost is the potential of a paywall looming over various Galaxy AI services. Concealed in the footer of the product pages on the website is a section about Galaxy AI services: “Galaxy AI features will be provided for free until the end of 2025 on supported Samsung Galaxy devices.” Samsung has not elaborated on which of its services would be included, the price of the service, or even if this is a certainty or simply a precautionary measure in case this approach is taken.
This creates a chilling effect on the services, with the lingering concern that something currently complimentary will be revoked.
Additionally, Samsung has its other mobile devices. Currently, Galaxy AI is limited to the S24, S24+, and S24 handsets, but Samsung has affirmed that it will extend the services to the Galaxy S23 family, the Galaxy Z Fold 5, Z Flip 5, and Tab 9. Samsung is confining the next phase of the rollout to the previous generation of hardware, which is anticipated to be completed in the first half of this year.
One reason highlighted by Samsung for the gradual rollout is the magnitude of resources required. How much will a device necessitate for local processing, how frequently, and at what level? How much load will be placed on the servers when cloud-based AI features are needed as more devices can access the new features? If Samsung can leverage its extensive user base, it has the opportunity to take an early lead, but a slow rollout will diminish this opportunity.
The AI landscape is already a complex entity. Samsung has introduced Galaxy AI and it is present on their latest phones, but intertwined with its AI capabilities provided by Google. Upon scrutinizing the footer again, you’ll find “Different terms may apply for AI features provided by third parties.” While those closely following the presentations should discern which is a Galaxy AI service, which is a Google AI service, and which is a third-party service (such as Meta), will the average consumer comprehend who deserves recognition?
Update: Sunday January 28: SamMobile’s Adnan Farooqui reports on an alternative form of AI in the Galaxy S24 platform. With Google Services banned in China, many additional features showcased at the Galaxy Unpacked event cannot operate in China.
There is a solution. Samsung has transitioned to utilizing Baidu, a popular Google substitute in the country. Baidu provides its own AI platform, intriguingly named Ernie AI, which offers a similar array of tools to Google, including live phone call translation, text summaries of notes and web pages, and voice transcription.
It’s another AI service that Samsung will need to incorporate into the platform, further complicating the matter. Chinese users will receive Galaxy AI; it may offer them the same benefits, but it’s another complication behind the scenes to maintain a consistent user experience across the platform.
While the Android platform as a whole will benefit and all manufacturers will thrive, this makes it much more challenging for Samsung to distinguish itself and assume a prominent leadership position.
Samsung has garnered a lot of favorable publicity about Galaxy AI. According to initial reviews, these tools offer an excellent consumer experience. This publicity will help consumers associate AI with all smartphones and create an anticipation of AI as standard—much like the addition of GPS was a notable feature in previous decades, but is now a requisite minimum.
The challenge for Samsung is to sustain its assumed role as the prominent player in the AI arena amid a fragmented landscape, concerns about subscription costs, and the standardization of AI services.
Now read more about Samsung’s implementation of an AI paywall…
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