Samsung announced on Wednesday that it had its own answer to ChatGPT with Gauss, its generative AI model. Shortly after, the company followed up by teasing Galaxy AI, which it touts as bringing an AI experience to mobile devices.
Samsung didn’t reveal much about Galaxy AI, including whether it would be using the Gauss model. Galaxy AI is billed as an “AI experience” in Samsung’s press release, using a hybrid of on-device and cloud-based AI “enabled by our open collaborations with like-minded industry leaders.”
It’s unclear which devices will use Galaxy AI, whether the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S24 expected in early 2024 or other Galaxy tablet and wearable devices, only that it’s coming early next year. Samsung didn’t immediately respond to a request for clarity.
It’s also not clear how Galaxy AI will change the user experience with Galaxy mobile devices, though Samsung did give one example. A new feature called AI Live Translate Call will enable those with the “latest Galaxy AI phone” to use Galaxy AI to translate audio and text in real time. This feature will be restricted to on-device AI, so conversations and translations won’t leave the phone.
“Galaxy AI is our most comprehensive intelligence offering to date, and it will change how we think about our phones forever,” Wonjoon Choi, head of research and development for Mobile eXperience Business, said in the press release.
Samsung also didn’t clarify what would enable the on-device part of the Galaxy AI experience. The company announced its new Exynos 2400 chip for premium phones on Monday, which has on-device AI in addition to other improvements, but Samsung’s phones don’t always use Exynos chips — sometimes they use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon silicon. Last month, Qualcomm unveiled its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip with on-device AI intended for premium phones.
Most phones have used AI for years to clean up images taken with cameras and shoot night photography, as well as recognizing spoken requests with voice assistants. Generative AI like ChatGPT offers novel responses to queries, promising more intelligent and helpful info on demand. Those have primarily been cloud-based services, where requests must be sent up to and return from server farms running generative AI and language learning models.
Qualcomm has been a cheerleader for on-device generative AI and claims it has several advantages over the cloud-based approach. By running the AI on a device and not sending data to the cloud, responses can be kept private and personalized with user behavior and habits (suggesting restaurants you frequent, say). The AI can also work without requiring a cell signal, and since it’s running on the device’s battery, won’t contribute to data center emissions.
Samsung is the first phonemaker to join chipmakers like Qualcomm and MediaTek in heralding generative AI on phones coming in 2024, those new AI tools and assistants could change how we use our handsets going forward. That all depends on how the mobile industry implements this new technology — and whether it’s immediately useful for consumers or, like 5G, takes years to impact our day-to-day phone experience.