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  • Voltaire Staff

Samsung Galaxy phone series' AI features may not be free forever

Samsung's latest AI-powered Galaxy S24 series may not be forever free, if the company's own communication is to be believed.  

Launched on Thursday at Samsung Unpacked event, the Galaxy series phones were touted to have several AI-enabled tools, which may not be connected with the hardware alone, or for that matter with internet, to operate.

Artificial Intelligence has a high fuel cost with server time needed to process requests.   

Considering the constraint, Samsung's AI features might soon come at a price. The South Korean electronics giant hinted as much in a fine print on the promotional page.

The footnote reads "Galaxy AI features will be provided for free until the end of 2025 on supported Samsung Galaxy devices. Different terms may apply for AI features provided by third parties."

That means Samsung reserves the right to charge for Galaxy AI after 2025. Despite devices like the Galaxy S24 Ultra costing $1,300, the additional may become a worry for the consumers.

Samsung primarily makes hardware, and it's likely that many of these features use on-device processing instead of relying on a distant server.

Similar to other Samsung Android features, this seems more like trying various things and hoping something becomes popular, rather than a set of standout apps.

Many of these new AI features on Galaxy phones rely on the internet to work. Some, like translation, can work without the internet, but others, like Generative Edit and transcription, use Google's Gemini models in the cloud. So, if Samsung introduces a paid subscription, it might have different rules for third-party AI features.

During the launch, Samsung didn't make it clear that certain AI features in the Galaxy S24 series need an internet connection and a Samsung Account. However, they do. Features like Live Translate, Note Assist in Samsung Notes, and Chat Assist require the internet. Only a few, like edit suggestions and translation tools, can work offline, but their capabilities are limited.

Features in AI that rely on server resources come with ongoing costs. Google and Amazon dealt with this earlier, with Google Assistant and Alexa voice assistants.

Amazon's burnt its fingers with Alexa, reporting a loss of $10 billion in 2022. The company is now considering a subscription model for Alexa in the future.

Google, on the other hand, offers a regular subscription plan called Google One, which though primarily buys a user more account storage, also unlocks some AI features like "Magic eraser" in Google Photos.

These features are basically just like regular apps. They have to compete with the countless apps available on the Play Store, and you can easily find a free alternative.


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