If you thought tech companies leaned a little too hard into the AI buzz in 2023, this year is going to make your head spin.
Our first major tech launch of 2024 is going to be Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series, and something something AI is already a big part of it. This makes sense because it’s something new (not really, but whatever), and it’s something that a lot of people seem to be interested in. Companies like Samsung try to give us what we’re interested in, and AI sells.
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AI is also a mess, especially when we’re talking about user-facing features. AI can be pretty good at quietly working behind the scenes to do stuff, but when it’s something we interact with, it can be hilariously stupid while also being useful.
Most of all, it’s fun, though. And that’s important because Samsung’s new AI features on the Galaxy S24 are going to be a dumpster fire. A dumpster fire that we want to keep using because it’s fun and kind of cool.
Samsung didn’t invent AI; no one company did. AI started as a bunch of bright ideas from bright people who tried to automate tedious things. Soon after, some big tech companies found ways to make it “better” while making it profitable, and it became what we know today. And it’s not done — expect “AI stuff” to become more ingrained into our lives and more complex as time goes by until something else comes along to replace it.
It’s good that Samsung didn’t invent AI because the company struggles when it comes to software. Samsung makes some of the best components and electronics the world has ever seen, and most of what you buy is full of Samsung parts. But when it comes to software, it takes a bit of time and refinement before the company can send out something we enjoy using.
This is what’s going to make these new Galaxy AI tools and features such a glorious mess.
Remember a few years back when Samsung’s excellent phones had a pretty crappy user experience? Look at them now; the software that powers the Galaxy S23 or a Z Flip 5 offers a first-rate experience that makes the product even better. Even though the old software on something like a Galaxy S9 was bad, it held promise, and much of it was fun to use despite how poorly it worked.
While we expect many of these tools to closely mimic what we see from Google on the Pixel, they aren’t the same tools. I’m not sure if there is any licensing involved or if things like the rumored on-device translation share a foundation with Google (for example), but any integration has to come from Samsung. The same goes for tools like a smarter keyboard or a better Notes app. This is all on Samsung to either build from scratch or integrate with its existing software.
That’s a good thing. Samsung is 100% capable of working up any software it wants, from a smart notes app to a self-driving car. It’s just probably going to take a while before it works the way you would expect it to work. In the end, it means that Samsung has tools and features tailored to its devices and desires instead of piggybacking off the scraps of another company.
So far, all of this sounds like a potential drawback of the S24. It’s not. Galaxy AI is going to work sometimes, be really stupid other times, and even crash and burn sometimes. But we’re going to mess with it and have fun watching it try to live up to its hype.
This isn’t a blind prediction because it’s exactly what we’ve seen in the past — Google, Nvidia, Microsoft, and every other name you think of when you hear AI started by shipping products that were flawed but interesting. We used them, we laughed, they got better.
Never forget that early versions of Tesla’s FSD software sped up so it could more efficiently run down child-sized mannequins. Like spell-checking your messages or adding eggs to a shopping list automatically, it quickly got better and better.