The latest flagship phones from Samsung are here, with the S24 taking centre stage at the recent Samsung Unpacked, and the company also finally unveiled it's Galaxy AI and the associated features. However, despite many coming to believe these features are free, which they are, it comes with the caveat that you'll have to pay after a trial.
The Samsung Unpacked 2024 event was filled with reveals for the latest series of the company's premium smartphones, but a bigger spotlight was on Galaxy AI, Samsung's answer to ChatGPT. Plenty of big brands are getting into the trend of AI, with Microsoft's Copilot being a major example, but taking one look at the list of the best tech at CES 2024 will give you an insight into how many brands are attempting to get an advantage in AI.
It seemed like, at a glance, Galaxy AI was going to be a free AI for those purchasing an expensive smartphone. ChatGPT is split into free or paid options, Copilot is now offering a Pro subscription, but having an AI helping you with daily tasks on a premium mobile sounds great. That is, until you take a look at the good old terms and conditions from Samsung.
As spotted by Techradar, the Ts and Cs from Samsung for the new Galaxy AI features suggest that "Galaxy AI features will be provided for free until the end of 2025 on supported Samsung Galaxy devices". That means, when 2026 arrives, you'll likely have to pay a monthly cost to keep using Galaxy AI features. However, the amount it will cost is unknown.
I actually like the sound of the Galaxy AI features, and it is likely that many of the AI features within the device, like translation or photo editing, will not cost any additional fees after the "trial period" comes to an end. However, the rest of the Galaxy AI suite that is cloud-based and requires an internet connection will likely be part of the subscription.
Besides the security and One UI updates that can support the flagship phones for years, that only gives you a maximum of two years to use the AI tools without paying. Even less, if you decide to pick up an S24 phone at a later date, and considering that the Ultra is the only Snapdragon S24 outside of the US too, that's pretty shocking. It wouldn't be surprising if Samsung tells you to either pay the fee, lose the cloud-based AI tools, or upgrade your phone to get a "new and improved" Galaxy AI at a later date.
That being said, Samsung could easily extend the free period or maybe scrap Galaxy AI altogether if the AI trend dies off between now and 2026. However, it's certainly worth taking this into account if the suite of AI tools was a big selling point on the S24 for you.