Galaxy AI has been everywhere for the past week-ish. Samsung made a very big deal of its AI-focused features at the Galaxy S24 launch, with AI taking front and center stage at the event, and from start to finish, the entire Samsung Unpacked show felt more like a Google Pixel event.
All that talk about software using the power of AI to deliver convenient new tools is right up Google’s alley. After all, it was features like Live Translate, Live Captions, and Magic Eraser that solidified the position of Pixel phones as some of the best Android devices in the industry.
The funny thing is, it was these features and functionalities that gave modern Pixels the oomph they needed to climb to the top at the time. We expected exclusivity with these Pixel-only features, but it looks like this isn’t the case anymore. The Galaxy S24 series picked up a lot of the coolest features from Pixel phones, making me think that Samsung’s new phones are more “Pixel” than they are “Galaxy.”
If you’re feeling a little lost, let me present some examples. Samsung highlighted many of the Galaxy S24’s capabilities at the launch event. One of them was powerful on-device translations powered by AI baked into the S24 — sound familiar? That’s right, Live Translate is what helped put the Pixel 6 series on the map a couple of years ago with on-device translation. I remember being blown away when I first tested the feature. Just like Google, Samsung has now brought smart translations to all three of its S24 flagships natively.
Last year, we witnessed the debut of Magic Compose. Google rolled out the AI-powered chatting tool to Google Messages back in May 2023. Magic Compose is like a texting assistant that helps you respond to messages in your desired mannerisms, tones, and styles.
Much like Magic Compose on Pixel phones, the S24 series has something called Chat Assist built-in. You can translate text and also craft messages with certain tones and better grammar. Once again, it’s hard not to compare Google and Samsung’s AI tools. They are so similar in nature and can accomplish nearly all the same tasks.
And it doesn’t stop there. There’s Google’s Magic Eraser and Samsung’s Object Eraser. Live Captions on Pixels and Interpreter on Galaxy S24 phones. Photo Ambient Wallpaper on the S24 and Cinematic Wallpaper on Pixels. Generative Edit from Samsung vs. Magic Editor on the Pixel 8 series. I can go on and on.
Oh, and if you’re about to bring up Circle to Search, that feature is going to be available on Samsung’s S24 series and Google’s Pixel 8 series alike from January 31 onwards.
For all intents and purposes, it looks like Samsung made a Pixel. This is evident when you compare the Galaxy S24 Ultra to the Pixel 8 Pro. And you know what? I’m glad because this means that I’ll finally get a Pixel that comes with high-quality hardware that doesn’t crap out on me in two years.
You may or may not have come across my Pixel 6 rant a couple of weeks ago. A phone that I loved so much turned its back on me, reducing it to a mere shadow of its former glory in just a smidge over two years.
I’m not alone; my misery has company.
Last year, the volume rocker on my colleague Nick Sutrich’s Pixel 7 Pro fell off. More recently, my other colleague, Harish Jonnalagadda, expressed his concerns regarding the Pixel 8’s durability. Just like me with my Pixel 6, he has started to face worrying issues and glitches with his Google device.
Contrary to popular belief, the three of us are major Pixel fans. We love the software experience that pure Google phones deliver. Don’t even get me started on the incredible Pixel photography that’s so hard to beat.
But it breaks our hearts and leaves us so very frustrated to see that Google’s phones continue to be built poorly and aren’t made to last.
This is where the Samsung Galaxy S24 series comes in. The Korean smartphone manufacturer makes a lot more durable devices, and now that they are loaded with juicy AI features similar to Pixels, we almost have no other reason to buy a Google device. Almost.
Samsung was doing well with its AI-laden S24 announcements. They even made the delightful announcement that select older Galaxy devices will be getting these Galaxy AI features as well. However, things soured really fast when a footnote in Samsung Australia’s newsroom blog came to light.
As it turns out, the swanky new Galaxy AI features are not going to be free forever. Samsung left a teeny tiny note stating that Galaxy AI features will only be usable free of charge until the end of 2025. This includes both the Galaxy S24 series and all other Samsung devices slated to receive said features.
So, there is a small chance that Samsung could pull the rug from under our feet. Apart from third-party AI features like Circle to Search, most other Galaxy AI features exclusively announced at Samsung Unpacked 2024 could eventually be locked behind a paywall.
While I have my doubts that Samsung will actually follow through with this, it does put a damper on things. Samsung made a Pixel that is more durable, and it has all the best AI features from Pixel phones. But the fact that it could all be taken away after 2025 is a frustrating thought and could potentially take away from their chance to beat Google at its own game.