Samsung Releases New AI Tools To Millions Of Galaxy Phones – Forbes

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 2: The Galaxy S23 Ultra, the top-range smartphone from the new S23 series … [+] of smartphones by Samsung, is being exhibited during the Mobile World Congress 2023 on March 2, 2023, in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
This story was updated on March 29th. Update below.
Last month, Samsung promised to roll out a suite of new AI features to “100 million galaxy users” by the end of March 2024. That rollout appears to be happening right now, according to users who are receiving notifications about an upcoming update.
The new AI tools are bundled with the One UI 6.1 update, which was previously only available on the Galaxy S24. In a surprise move, the Korean company said in February that it would bring the entire lineup of Galaxy AI features to older devices.
The AI features—Live Translate, Circle to Search, Note Assist and generative image editing—will only come to select Samsung devices released in 2023. That includes the Galaxy S23 series, S23 FE, both of the latest Fold and Flip handsets and the Tab S9 series.
Older devices that Samsung is still supporting with Android updates and security patches, like the Galaxy S22 range, won’t get the new AI features.
Galaxy S23 owners on Reddit have been receiving notifications about the impending update. One user, in Romania, said Samsung had emailed them about One UI 6.1 on March 25th. “So I just received an email from Samsung saying that they will update my S23 Ultra to the new OneUI. I guess [in] a matter of hours or days maybe.” They explained.
Other Reddit users in Belgium and China are receiving the same email, so it looks like Samsung is preparing to roll the update out globally. Tarun Vats on Twitter/X, who tracks Samsung updates, posted a screenshot of a notification from a Chinese Galaxy user, which states that the update will land on March 28th.
It’s worth pointing out that the users who are receiving these notifications appear to be Galaxy S23 owners. It doesn’t look like Fold 5, Flip 5 or Tab S9 owners have been contacted yet. I haven’t received anything for my Fold 5, for example.
Why would the Korean company give away these major Galaxy S24 exclusive (formally) features? There is some logic to Samsung’s seeming generosity: the company might charge for these features in the future.
The small print on Samsung’s website states that “Galaxy AI features will be provided for free until at least the end of 2025 on supported Samsung Galaxy devices.”
This is likely the company covering its bases in case the cost of providing AI tools for free becomes overwhelming. It is, after all, expensive to research and develop generative AI technology. Other companies with their own language models are trending towards charging a fee for their chatbots.
Google recently bundled Gemini Advanced (the paid version of Gemini) with its Google One cloud storage plan, which also includes free subscriptions to Nest Aware and Fitbit Premium. We’ll have to see if Samsung does indeed decide to charge for these AI tools in 2025, but if it does I suspect it will release more features before that deadline to make a subscription more appealing.
Update March 27th: One UI 6.1 is now rolling out to some users, including SamMobile, which got early access to the new software update. Testing it out on the Galaxy Z Fold 5, it looks like all of the AI features that debuted on the Galaxy S24 have made their way to the foldable phone.
As expected, some features really benefit from the Fold 5’s bigger display, with SamMobile giving the example of Circle to Search. The large inner screen of the Fold can display more search results and provide a bigger canvass to highlight on. It’s the same for generative picture editing, where users have more space to do intricate edits. The other features—Live Translate, Note Assist and generative image editing—have all ported over.
SamMobile says there aren’t any Fold specific features in the One UI 6.1 update, but there are a bunch of other hidden gems. Improved and smoother UI animations is a big one, as are the new battery protection features, and the new (for the Fold 5, at least) “single take” feature in the camera app. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the update as it continues to roll out.
Update March 29th: One UI 6.1 is now rolling out globally to all eligible Galaxy phone owners, including my Galaxy Z Fold 5, which was patched this morning. All of the aforementioned AI features are there, as expected. Once the update is installed, Samsung gives users the chance to try them out alongside a brief explanation of what they can do.
The update has gone down very well with Galaxy S23 users on Reddit, who are creating Ben 10 memes in response to the futuristic AI features and commenting on how much smoother the UI animations are now.
“It’s honestly great so far. Will monitor the battery life but I’m digging the AI features (especially the generative edit). Job well done by Samsung.” One Redditor said.
Others are praising the Live Translation feature and some are posting edited pictures using the new generative edit function. Not all users are entirely happy with it, though. Some Redditors described the new features as gimmicky and questioned if they’d be useful on a day-to-day basis. Across Samsung related Reddit subs, One UI 6.1 is a huge discussion topic and clearly one of Samsung’s more consequential updates in recent times.
I’s not uncommon for smartphone manufacturers to update older devices with new features through major OS updates. Google has been doing precisely this with its quarterly Pixel Drop program. But these are major new features. Samsung’s aggressive marketing for its Galaxy AI language model meant that the One UI 6.1 update has made a much bigger splash than any other before it.

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