Previous Blogs

December 15, 2023
Intel Refines Its Computing Vision

December 7, 2023
AMD Makes Definitive GenAI Statement

December 6, 2023
Lattice Semi Expands Line of Midrange FPGAs

November 30, 2023
The Amazon AWS GenAI Strategy Comes with a Big Q

November 28, 2023
AWS Introduces Helpful AI Training Tools to Guide Users

November 13, 2023
IBM Extends Its Goals for AI and Quantum Computing

November 7, 2023
The Rapidly Evolving State of Generative AI

November 2, 2023
Cisco’s Webex Extends Generative AI into Collaboration

October 31, 2023
Lenovo Unites Businesses and AI Strategy

October 24, 2023
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite Solidifies New Era of AI PCs

October 10, 2023
HP Highlights PC Design Innovation

September 22, 2023
Microsoft Copilot Updates Push GenAI to the Mainstream

September 19, 2023
Intel Hopes to Reinvent the PC with Core Ultra SOC

September 6, 2023
Google Starts GenAI Productivity Onslaught with Duet AI for Workspace Release

August 16, 2023
Why Generative AI is so Unlike Other Major Tech Trends

August 9, 2023
Nvidia Enhances GenAI Offerings for Enterprise

July 31, 2023
Challenges Remain for Generative AI Tools

July 27, 2023
Generative AI Study Uncovers Surprising Facts on Business Usage

July 26, 2023
Samsung Works to Bring Foldables to the Mainstream

June 21, 2023
HPE Melds Supercomputing and Generative AI

June 14, 2023
AMD Delivers Generative AI Vision

June 6, 2023
Apple wants to redefine computing with Vision Pro headset

June 1, 2023
Hybrid AI is moving generative AI tech from the cloud to our devices

May 23, 2023
Dell and Nvidia Partner to Create Generative AI Solutions for Businesses

May 9, 2023
IBM Unleashes Generative AI Strategy With watsonx

May 4, 2023
Amazon’s Generative AI Strategy Focuses on Choice

April 20, 2023
Latest Cadence Tools Bring Generative AI to Chip and System Design

March 30, 2023
Amazon Enables Sidewalk Network for IoT Applications

March 16, 2023
Microsoft 365 Copilot Enables the Digital Assistants We’ve Always Wanted

March 14, 2023
Google Unveils Generative AI Tools for Workspace and GCP

March 9, 2023
Lenovo Revs Desktop Workstations with Aston Martin

March 1, 2023
MWC Analysis: The Computerized, Cloudified 5G Network is Getting Real

February 23, 2023
Early MWC News Shows Renewed Emphasis on 5G Infrastructure

February 1, 2023
Samsung Looking to Impact the PC Market

January 18, 2023
The Surprise Winner for Generative AI

January 5, 2023
AI To Go Mainstream in 2023

2022 Blogs

2021 Blogs

2020 Blogs

2019 Blogs

2018 Blogs

2017 Blogs

2016 Blogs

2015 Blogs

2014 Blogs

2013 Blogs

TECHnalysis Research Blog

January 17, 2024
Samsung Focuses Galaxy S24 Upgrades on Software

By Bob O'Donnell

Clearly, it’s time for a new approach.

After years of primarily talking about advancements in hardware, at this year’s first Galaxy Unpacked Event, Samsung chose to direct most of its attention to the software enhancements it’s integrated into the new S24 line of phones. Specifically, the company described a series of AI-powered capabilities it collectively calls Galaxy AI. Given all the recent focus on generative AI and the fact that most of those software enhancements are AI-driven, the decision makes complete sense.

Of course, in a declining smartphone market that’s becoming increasingly competitive for Samsung—and where hardware differentiation is getting harder to do—it’s also a practical choice that simply reflects the reality of today’s smartphone market.

The new software-first tactic also reflects the shifting needs and interests of smartphone buyers. While many used to hone in on improved hardware specs, most buyers are now more interested in the types of new experiences that the latest generation smartphones can offer. And that’s exactly what Samsung has emphasized with the S24.

The new Galaxy AI functions include multiple AI-powered features that make using its latest phones more interesting, more productive, and more fun. Given the communications-focused nature of a smartphone, many of the new features are concentrated on various types of message exchange functions including real-time language translation of phone calls and in-person conversations. For text exchanges, the new Chat Assist function can not only do language translation, but also tone adjustment to ensure that the message has the exact meaning that it’s intended to have. Collectively, this is a powerful set of capabilities that makes the long-sought idea of being able to intelligently and thoughtfully converse with most anyone across the world a reality.

Given its increasingly important role as an information retrieval device, Samsung also worked with Google to create a clever and useful new method for searching for data. Called “Circle to Search,” the feature does exactly what it says—allows you to circle, underline or otherwise highlight any text or any element in a photo, video or graphic on your phone’s screen with your finger (or a stylus) and search for more information on whatever you select. In fact, it can even use GenAI-based searches to provide more context or other background information on what you’ve highlighted. As simple as it sounds, it provides a fast, intuitive new way to think about search and is likely to be a very popular among new S24 users.

Not surprisingly, the S24 also includes a number of GenAI-powered capabilities that focus on photos and videos through software Samsung calls the ProVisual Engine. Some of them are similar to GenAI-powered image editing and creation features we’ve seen from other vendors (notably Google’s Pixel line of phones). The ability to select an object (or person), move it around, remove it, independently alter it and other similar capabilities adds a whole new level of functionality and refinement to the picture- and video-taking process. Other new features build on existing Samsung capabilities, such as improved low-light capture in their Nightography mode, enhanced software-based image stabilization, improved optical zoom and more. Plus, even though not all of these capabilities are new to the market, many are new to the huge audience of Samsung buyers. In addition, as with many advanced capabilities, the devil is in the details of how they’re implemented. Samsung has done a great deal of work to make the process of using these advanced Galaxy AI features as easy and as intuitive as possible.

Just because Samsung primarily discussed its software enhancements didn’t mean new hardware wasn’t included in its S24 line. Most notably, the new smartphones are among the first to incorporate Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, which offers faster compute and graphics performance, along with a greatly improved NPU for speeding up the host of Galaxy AI-powered software features. In fact, as with the last few iterations, Samsung is getting an enhanced version of the Qualcomm SOC (officially called Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform for Galaxy) with a few additional performance tweaks. The top-of-the-line S24 Ultra also is the company’s first phone to include support for the new WiFi7 standard—also powered by Qualcomm—and the first to incorporate a titanium body.

Samsung has also added some security enhancements into the S24 line, including an extension to its Knox line of security functions that it calls Knox Matrix. Leveraging password-less digital credentials, Knox Matrix uses Passkeys to allow secure access to registered websites and apps across trusted devices to reduce the risk of potentially harmful phishing attacks. New Enhanced Data Protection features enable end-to-end encryption of data that’s synced or backed up from your phone to the Samsung Cloud.

Finally, Samsung also made some important improvements in its sustainability initiatives with the S24 line. Most notably, the batteries on the S24 Ultra included at least 50% recycled cobalt and the speakers include 100% recycled rare earth elements—a first for any Samsung devices. The Ultra also includes 40% recycled steel in its speakers and 10% recycled pre-consumer Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) in its volume buttons.

Taken as a whole, the S24 line isn’t the typical type of Samsung upgrade we’ve seen in the past. The emphasis on the software capabilities (and questions about whether or not some of those capabilities will be made to previous generation S series phones) make this a different kind of product cycle. However, I think it’s the kind of phone evolution we can expect to see from most of the major phone vendors for the next several years. With the obvious exception of foldable screens—which Samsung also leads in via its Z series foldable line—traditional smartphones are becoming harder to distinguish from one another. As a result, the software experiences that companies can enable are likely to be primary points of differentiation for some time. For companies like Samsung who are dependent on Google’s Android OS for most of the software on their devices that could be a daunting challenge. But as Samsung has demonstrated with its new S24 line, it’s possible to do.

Here's a link to the original column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on LinkedIn at Bob O’Donnell or on Twitter @bobodtech.