Samsung Warns Of Paywalled AI Features In Galaxy S24 Ultra


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Ewan Spence

This article was originally published by

Will Samsung move some of its Galaxy AI features behind a paywall in two years? The Galaxy S24 Ultra product page suggests that this is the case.

Samsung’s note on the Galaxy AI features can be found in the footnotes on the Galaxy S24 Ultra page on the US site: “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.”

Subscription services for software are not unknown—Adobe has several subscriptions across its portfolio, and consumers will be aware they can purchase extra storage from cloud services to increase storage. If Galaxy AI services became a paid-for feature, how much would consumers be willing to pay to play? Maximising revenue and maximising the number of users would need to be balanced by Samsung if the company decided to go down this road.

Samsung’s Galaxy AI works both on-device and in the cloud, and it’s unclear whether a distinction will be drawn between the two services. Several Galaxy AI features require an internet connection and a Samsung Account. As the use of AI tools becomes more prevalent, there could be a significant cost of offering heavy-duty AI services in the cloud.

Can Samsung make Galaxy AI attractive enough that consumers will feel a burning need to buy into the service?

Update: Sunday January 21: While Galaxy AI has made an impressive debut and will form a key part of the Galaxy S24 story, there will only be a small window of exclusivity afforded to the new handsets. The South Korean company has confirmed its intentions to have Galaxy AI cascade down to older handsets.

Speaking to Android Authority, a spokesperson stated, “Many of the Galaxy AI features introduced on Galaxy S24 will also be supported on previous models including Galaxy S23 series, Galaxy S23 FE, Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5, and Galaxy Tab S9 series within 1H 2024. Please stay tuned for more details.”

Galaxy AI is seen as a standalone product available across the Galaxy range, which does diminish the impact of the Galaxy S24 family. They may be the first AI-powered smartphones from Samsung, yet the attractiveness of upgrading from an older handset has been weakened… depending on which AI features make it over and at what cost.

Update: Monday January 22: One of the biggest issues Samsung may have in convincing users to sign up for its paywalled artificial intelligence is that not all the AI services on the Galaxy devices are exclusive to the Galaxy platforms. One of the stand-out demonstrations at Galaxy Unpacked was the “Circle To Search” function, with the S-Pen stylus highlighting anything on the screen, which was subsequently searched for online.

I’m confident that this tool will not go behind Samsung’s paywall because it’s actually a Google tool. It will be available on the Galaxy S24 family of phones when they go on sale to the public at the end of January. Noted commentator Mishaal Rahman reports that Circle To Search will also be available on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro on January 31st.

If AI is going to be used to its maximum, consumer trust is vital. How consumers will navigate, who provides their AI, which service is using which data, and how to limit their use of service “A” over service “B” could be one of the trickiest issues to understand during 2025.

AI is an extensive term for several software tools; it’s hard to call which will be successful, which will be niche, and which will fail in the next six months, let alone over two years. Samsung may not have made a final decision on the role of Galaxy AI as part of its 2026 plans, which would mean a qualifier about the potential for degradation of service, as we see here, is important.

Unfortunately, it leaves a question mark hanging over the long-term plans of the Galaxy S24 family and the Galaxy AI software.

Samsung has been approached for comment; this article will be updated with any

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