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Samsung’s Galaxy S24 and AI event: all the news

Samsung’s wintertime Unpacked event’s starring lead wasn’t the new Galaxy S24 lineup — it was AI. Specifically, the bevy of AI-powered capabilities that Samsung’s flagship line is capable of. 

The new phones are practically an AI trifecta. The S24 Ultra, S24 Plus, and S24 are running both local and cloud-based AI applications powered by tech like Google Gemini (a competitor for OpenAI’s GPT-4 large language model). The phones have new AI-based video and photo editing tools, too, including a new feature that fills in the missing frames of photos and videos. Users will also be able to circle objects in a photo to resize them, isolate them, or move them around. What that means for the question of what a photo is... is anyone’s guess.

There’s also a feature that can translate your speech in real-time, and Samsung’s voice recorder is getting live transcriptions with speaker labels. 

Read on below for more details.

  • Emma Roth

    Jan 31

    Emma Roth

    Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra really is scratch resistant

    Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra shown in-hand with Google’s Circle to Search results shown on-screen.
    Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

    One of the most impressive parts of Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 Ultra is the anti-glare display, which is made of Corning Gorilla Armor glass that Samsung touts as its “most scratch-resistant yet.” Although it’s easy to dismiss that claim as marketing speak, a new durability test from JerryRigEverything proves Samsung really isn’t exaggerating after all.

    During his video, JerryRightEverything tests the S24 Ultra’s durability by scratching the screen with different picks according to Mohs hardness scale — ranging from the softest materials at level one and the hardest at level 10. The YouTuber’s pick only started leaving scratches at level seven, but it didn’t create grooves in the glass that typically start appearing at that level.

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  • Here are the key differences between the Samsung Galaxy S24 phones

    Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra shown in four color options, standing upright with rear panel facing out.
    Like the rest of the S24 lineup, Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra comes in four color options.
    Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

    As expected, Samsung introduced the new Galaxy S24 phone lineup during its Galaxy Unpacked event on January 17th. The Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus start at $799.99 and $999.99, respectively, while the Galaxy S24 Ultra starts at $1,299.99. All of the phones are available starting on January 31st, 2024, though you can preorder them now.

    We’ve yet to wrap up our testing, so we can’t comment on how well the phones perform in reality. However, in the limited time we’ve been able to try them out so far, it seems Samsung made mostly minor hardware updates. Along with brighter displays, the new lineup features larger S24 and S24 Plus models, while the S24 Ultra features what should be a more durable titanium frame.

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  • Samsung’s Galaxy S24 is first to be able to upload HDR photos to Instagram

    Instagram will be able to display HDR photographs taken with Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 phones, the two companies have announced. “Every photo and video you take, or view, will be shown in its full range of color and contrast, from the moment you snap the content, to the moment you post,” said Samsung’s VP of Intelligent Imaging, Dr. Hamid Sheikh, onstage at the S24 launch event. “In fact the Galaxy S24 series will be the first ever to have HDR enabled for photos on Instagram.” The app already supports HDR videos.

    HDR support was one of a handful of social media photography-focused features Samsung announced for its new phones, the Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra. The smartphone manufacturer also announced that Instagram, as well as rival Snapchat, would be able to make use of Samsung’s native camera features when taking photos directly from the social media apps. 

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  • Samsung’s Galaxy AI is coming to 100 million Galaxy phones.

    After its impressive debut on the S24 series, Samsung said its  Google-powered AI will expand to “select Galaxy devices” by mid-2024. TM Roh, head of Samsung’s mobile division, now gives us a rough target for the mix of old and new devices:

    Galaxy AI in the Galaxy S24 series is a hybrid AI using both on-device and cloud-based AI. This year, we will introduce Galaxy AI to about 100 million Galaxy smartphones for the global expansion of mobile AI.

    For context, Samsung shipped about 220 million smartphones in all of 2023, as Apple overtook it for the first time — something Roh is determined to change:

    “We are taking the (decrease) in shipment volume seriously,” said Roh, predicting double-digit growth in S24 sales compared to the S23 series.

  • Where to preorder Samsung’s new Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra

    Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra shown in four color options, standing upright with rear panel facing out.
    The Galaxy S24 family arrives with new AI features to enhance photography, communication, and search. Here’s where you can preorder one.
    Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

    Following a spat of leaks, Samsung has unveiled its forthcoming set of flagship phones, detailing the new Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra at its latest Unpacked event. The new smartphones officially launch on January 31st and are available for preorder beginning today, with the base model starting at $799.99, the Plus model starting at $999.99, and the high-end Ultra handset going for $1,299.99.

    In our early hands-on time with them, we haven’t noticed anything groundbreaking about the Galaxy S24 family’s hardware, though each phone boasts a slightly bigger battery and display than its predecessor. The Ultra now further justifies its premium price tag with a titanium build, and all of the displays are noticeably brighter. Instead of reinventing the design wheel, Samsung has instead focused on building out a suite of AI features that rely on Google’s Gemini foundational models, many of which sound genuinely helpful, while others are meant purely for fun.

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  • Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra might fend off scratches just as well as drops

    Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra shown from top down on a shelf with screen on.
    Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

    The cover glass on our smartphones has grown durable enough to withstand more than a few drops nowadays. Whether you’re talking about Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus or the iPhone’s “ceramic shield,” displays have gotten pretty tough. But one common complaint remains: phone screens are still all too easy to scratch. Sometimes, it feels like it’s even easier to scratch a premium phone than it used to be. Screen protectors are still a booming business, after all.

    But today marks some promising news. During Samsung’s Unpacked event, Corning announced a new kind of cover glass called Corning Gorilla Armor that it claims makes big strides on several fronts. It’s debuting on the brand-new Galaxy 24 Ultra. First, and as to be expected, the company claims this is its toughest display glass yet. Wonderful. I’ll leave drop tests to the YouTubers. But more intriguingly, Corning says Gorilla Armor is its most scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass yet and up to four times better at avoiding scratches than competing glass options on the market.

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  • A Samsung and Google Cloud deal is powering AI features on Galaxy S24 phones.

    The price of running generative AI is high, so it’s not surprising Samsung and Google have teamed up to power the new features in Galaxy S24 phones.

    This is the first use deploying Gemini Pro on Vertex AI to customers, for summarization in Notes, Voice Recorder, and Keyboard. It’s also using Imagen 2 for Generative Edit on photos, as well as Gemini Ultra for complex tasks and, like the Pixel 8 Pro, Gemini Nano as an on-device LLM.

    Samsung Galaxy and Google Cloud logos
    Image: Samsung / Google
  • Samsung is making a smart ring

    A photo of Samsung’s Galaxy Ring at Unpacked 2024
    Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

    Samsung just announced that it’s working on a smart ring. The ring, called the Galaxy Ring, was teased at the very end of today’s Unpacked showcase, and the company briefly described it as a “powerful and accessible” health and wellness device.

    Outside of a brief video showing off what the Galaxy Ring looks like, Samsung didn’t share much more about the ring. The company didn’t say when the device is coming out or what it might cost, for example.

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  • Android Auto will use Google AI to respond to your friends when you’re running late.

    Google’s in-car assistant app is getting a generative AI boost — it will soon be able to summarize texts while you’re on the road and suggest relevant replies and actions.

    In the video below, Android Auto summarizes a text from a woman who is asking the driver if they want Thai food for dinner. The new features debuted at today’s Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event.

  • Google’s Circle to Search feels like a modern take on a very old Android feature.

    Today Google and Samsung introduced Circle to Search, a new way of searching for information about something on your phone’s screen without switching apps.

    I’ve been at The Verge long enough to remember Now on Tap — an Android feature that Google announced way back in 2015. The concept was very similar: hold down the home button, and Google would hunt for more details about whatever content was on your display at that moment.

    They’re not identical, mind you. With the newer approach, you’re circling something to make your interest much more obvious. And AI smarts have (hopefully) come a long way compared to Now on Tap’s inconsistent performance.

  • Samsung’s S24 and S24 Plus put new AI smarts in a polished package

    Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus and S24 standing on a table.
    The Galaxy S24 Plus (left) and the S24 (right).

    Samsung’s Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus don’t have the bigger screen or 5x telephoto camera of the more expensive Galaxy S24 Ultra, nor do they have its stylus. But in a year when “Galaxy AI” is almost all Samsung wants to talk about, it feels like those differences will matter a little less than usual when these phones start shipping on January 31st.

    Yes, Samsung’s suite of new AI-infused features is here, and perhaps the single most important thing to know about Samsung’s new S24 lineup is that these are the same whether you opt for the $799.99 Galaxy S24, the $999.99 Galaxy S24 Plus, or the $1,299.99 Galaxy S24 Ultra. In the US, the phones are all using Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processors, meaning the performance of the on-device AI features should be similar.

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  • The Galaxy S24 Ultra is smarter, pricier, and just as big as ever

    Ever wish you could have the most phone? For several years running, Samsung’s S-series Ultra has been that device, and the company is going just as big with the Ultra for 2024. The Galaxy S24 Ultra is here with a new titanium finish, lots of AI tools, and a higher starting price: $1,299, up from an already high $1,199.

    One of the most immediately noticeable new features of the Ultra is how it’s built. This year’s model has a titanium frame — like Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro — which Samsung says allows for better durability. Unlike Apple, Samsung hasn’t used the material in an attempt to make the phone lighter; titanium is heavier than aluminum, but it’s more durable so you can use less of it. In this case, Samsung has just gone for the durability factor. The S24 Ultra weighs about the same as the S23 Ultra (8.22oz or 232 grams) which makes it slightly heavier than the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

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  • Google’s Circle to Search is a dead-simple way to find what you’re looking for

    It’s hard to think of a more self-explanatory feature than Circle to Search: it does exactly what it sounds like it does. You circle something on your phone screen, tap a button, and voila! A page full of Google search results telling you about the thing you circled. Easy, right? The new feature is launching on five phones to start — the three members of Samsung’s brand-new Galaxy S24 series, as well as Google’s Pixel 8 and 8 Pro — before it comes to other “select, premium” Android phones.

    Well, maybe it does need a little explaining. If the feature sounds familiar, you might be thinking of Google Lens, which is similar. But instead of opening up the Google app, you can use Circle to Search anywhere on your device. Just long-press the home button if you’re using three-button navigation — or the navigation handle if you’re using gesture nav — and it will appear on top of whatever app or screen you’re currently using. You can circle, highlight, or tap a subject, including text as well as images.

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  • Unpacked in the house.

    Samsung is hosting today’s event in an NHL arena, and if you’re wondering whether that means arena-level audio and visuals, boy does it ever. It all gets started at 1PM ET / 10AM PT — watch along to learn all about the most AI phones that ever AI’ed. Until then, I’ll be watching the same Galaxy commercial on a giant screen on repeat, apparently.

    Image of arena with Unpacked presentation on screen.
  • Get ready for Samsung’s January 2024 Galaxy Unpacked event.

    The livestream is live and looping ahead of the 1PM ET start time for Samsung’s big Galaxy S24 introduction. We know the new phones will have plenty of AI onboard, but other details on that, and anything else Samsung plans to announce, will be revealed in about 45 minutes.

  • How to watch Samsung’s Galaxy S24 event

    It’s almost time for Samsung’s winter Unpacked event, where we’ll see the launch of the Galaxy S24 lineup and some splashy new AI features to go along with them. The event will cap off months of leaks of the new devices — plus some teases directly from Samsung itself.

    Just before Thanksgiving last year, Samsung announced a new mobile AI experience it’s calling Galaxy AI, which it said was scheduled to debut in early 2024. We should get the lowdown on Galaxy AI at this year’s event. The company is also rumored to be partnering with Google on some AI features, too.

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  • The AI phones are coming

    The era of AI on our phones is upon us, and it’s Samsung’s turn to show us a vision for the future.
    The era of AI on our phones is upon us, and it’s Samsung’s turn to show us a vision for the future.
    Image: Samsung

    Samsung is announcing new phones this week, and they’re going to be the most AI phones that ever AI’ed. That’s not a guess, although it would be an easy one coming off the heels of “Put a ChatGPT on it” CES 2024. No, Samsung is telling us in the loudest ways possible — including putting it on the Sphere, which is the 2024 equivalent of shouting it from the rooftops. But what exactly does AI on a phone look like? So far, it has amounted to a handful of tech demos. This week’s Galaxy Unpacked event is an opportunity to show us the potential of AI on a mobile device. And unlike a washing machine with ChatGPT preinstalled, AI could be really useful on our phones.

    AI showed up in a big way in 2023, but as a tool on our mobile devices, it’s been kind of a no-show so far. That’s just been the reality of our current technology; the massive language models that power chatbots like ChatGPT simply can’t run on our phones. You can download a ChatGPT app that runs queries in the cloud, but it can’t tell you whether an important email just came in. Things are slowly changing: the Pixel 8 Pro arrived in October, capable of running Google’s foundation models on-device, with some AI-powered updates promised later. But so far, only a couple of them have arrived, and they’re a little underwhelming.

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