Samsung unveils AI-powered S24 range as it hails ‘new era of mobile’

18 January 2024, 09:54

The new Samsung Galaxy S24 range of smartphones
B-roll Image_S24 Series_1_HI. Picture: PA

The smartphone maker has built a range of AI tools into its new phones, including translation, transcription and photo-editing features.

Samsung has unveiled its new line-up of flagship smartphones, which include a range of AI-powered features which the phone maker says will launch a “new era of mobile”.

The Galaxy S24, S24+ and S24 Ultra will go on sale on January 31 and are powered by what the Korean tech giant calls Galaxy AI.

This centres around a number of new tools on the devices using artificial intelligence, including a real-time translation tool for voice calls and texts, a Chat Assist tool to suggest the right tone for messages, and note and transcription tools which can transcribe conversations, translate them and even summarise them into bullet points.

In addition, the S24 range will be among the first devices to utilise Google’s Circle to Search feature, which enables users to circle, highlight or tap on anything on-screen, such as a landmark in a video or a piece of furniture, and do a web search on the point of interest selected.

The feature can be used within any app running on the phone and has so far only been confirmed for launch on the S24 range and Google’s flagship Pixel 8 phones.

AI-powered Chat Assist tool being used on a Samsung Galaxy S24 Series smartphone
The AI tools on the S24 series include the ability to translate text messages into other languages (Samsung/PA)

The AI tools have also been extended to the camera, with new editing tools available to recompose images, as well use generative AI to fill in gaps when subjects in photos are moved.

Samsung said many of the AI tools would work on-device rather than via the cloud using an internet connection, meaning they would be accessible even when a user does not have a data connection, and would better protect user data and privacy.

Artificial intelligence has become the key technology trend in the sector over the last 12 months, with more companies looking to introduce consumers to the tech through their products.

James Kitto, vice president and head of MX division at Samsung Electronics UK, told the PA news agency: “We see the smartphone as the obvious and natural entry point into AI, and we have the unique ability at Samsung to deliver AI solutions and a new era of AI mobile technology at a scale that, quite frankly, no one else can get close to.

“The market for AI really has grown in the last year, but we’re only at the early stages of consumers understanding what it can do for them and how it can deliver really significant productivity benefits, creativity benefits, and allow them to do things that they didn’t think possible – or do things that they thought possible but in an incredibly faster way than they’ve ever done before on a phone.”

Industry expert Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, said the launch “marks the dawn of the consumerisation of AI in smartphones” and wider tech products.

“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,” he said.

“This launch sees Samsung betting on features powered by artificial intelligence to reignite consumers’ interest in smartphones at a time when incremental hardware updates have seen sales slow.

“Google has been the trailblazer with its Pixel devices and there is little question this is going to be a recurring theme going forward, not just for smartphones but across all consumer electronics.”

Paolo Pescatore, founder of analyst firm PP Foresight, agreed that the S24 launch could represent “the start of a new era for smartphones”.

“With this in mind, Samsung will have to entice users with a range of competitor offers to suit everyone; this includes older Samsung owners who will inevitably be looking for a much-needed upgrade,” he said.

“This is an area Samsung should do a better job as Apple has done with newer devices.

“Some of the new AI-powered features are truly ground-breaking, cool and of use to everyone such as real-time voice interpreter and text translation.

“The former can be performed in flight mode thanks to on-device AI which will be mind-blowing to users who cannot get a connection or do not want to pay extortionate roaming fees while travelling.

“Also Circle to Search with Google will open up new use cases allowing brands to be more creative with the way content is searched, accessed on device.

“We are still in the early days of AI and we’ve seen huge excitement due to the euphoria around ChatGPT.

“AI has now replaced the word smart and we should expect developments to accelerate as awareness and adoption grows.

“Not all users are aware of AI and will be sceptical at first. What might have been perceived as a gimmick is now real once users start seeing these experiences on a device.”

The Galaxy S24 will start at £799, the S24+ at £999 and the top-end S24 Ultra starts at £1,249, Samsung confirmed.

By Press Association

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