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The new Samsung Galaxy S24 line of smartphones have some pretty nice hardware including high-quality displays, speedy processors, and some pretty nice cameras. But if you watched Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked launch event this week, you probably noticed that Samsung spent most of its time highlighting the new Galaxy AI features launching first on those phones.
What Samsung didn’t mention during that event is that it’s only promising to let you use those features for free until 2025, and some features won’t be available at all unless you have an active internet connection because they rely on cloud processing.
But if you scroll down to the fine print on the product pages for new phones like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, you’ll find language that makes it clear that “Galaxy AI features will be provided for free until the end of 2025 on supported Samsung Galaxy Devices.”
That strongly suggests that Samsung is considering requiring a subscription to access those features after 2025. And honestly, that makes sense. Because it takes money to operate the servers that power many of the AI features the company showed off. Giving users free lifetime access to those features would probably eat into the profits the company makes by selling its phones.
With Samsung promising at least 7 years of security updates and 7 major OS updates for the Galaxy S24, I can see why the company doesn’t want to also promise that users will also be able to get free access to cloud-based services for that amount of time.
It still feels a bit like a bait-and-switch. Buy this phone because of all these cool new things it can do… but if you really like those features, you’re going to need to pay to keep using them after the first two years.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and the end of 2025. For example, Samsung might discover that users don’t actually want or need some of those features and might not be willing to pay. Or they could prove hugely popular, and Samsung could continue rolling out additional features that users would be willing to pay for.
In that sense, maybe this isn’t all that different from one of those deals where you get free storage, a free music or video subscription, or some other perk for the first year or two when you purchase a new device… and it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth continuing to pay for that service once the free trial ends.
But Samsung also made a point during its Galaxy S24 launch event of noting that some of its AI features don’t require an internet connection at all. For example, the phone should be able to handle real-time language translations using only your device’s hardware. Since no data needs to be sent to the cloud for processing, it’s conceivable that features like this could be available without a subscription.
Samsung does note that you do need an internet connection for specific AI features, including AI-based image editing, the Note Assist feature that provides summaries of text notes, and Google’s new Circle to Search feature.