Published On: Tue, Apr 16th, 2024

Your Samsung Galaxy will get a big free update if it’s on this list

Back in January Samsung launched its Galaxy S24 series of Android smartphones and made it very clear that the main new features were all based around artificial intelligence, or AI. The Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra had cool new tools such as ‘circle to search’, live translation, the ability to summarise a spoken recording, and a ton of photo editing tools to match what Google ships on its Pixel phones.

Until recently, these new features have been exclusive to the Galaxy S24 but in March Samsung pushed out a free software update to older phones such as the Galaxy S23 series and foldables the Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5. This brought many of the same AI tools.

Now, 9to5Google has reported that these AI goodies will be pushed out to even older devices. After spotting a post on Samsung’s Korean forums, it looks as though circle to search and other tools could be coming to several Galaxy devices.

These include the phones Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, S22 Ultra, Z Flip 4, Z Fold 4, as well as the tablets Galaxy Tab S8, Tab S8 Plus, and Tab S8 Ultra. It seems these devices will get all the AI tools from the S24 apart from the Instant Slo-Mo feature.

Going by the text translation of the Korean response from Samsung, it is thought that the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, S21 Ultra, Z Flip 3, and Z Fold 3 from 2021 will even get circle to search and another tool called ‘magic rewrite’ – though that may be a mis-translation from Korean, as there is no feature called that currently. It may refer to Generative Edit, which uses cloud-based AI to make edits to photos, and wouldn’t rely solely on on-device hardware power.

The updates appear to be scheduled for “early May”, and will be part of the One UI 6.1 software update. One UI is what Samsung calls its version of Android, and One UI 6.1 is a release based on the latest Android 14.

Though stats show that smartphone shipments have picked up again, in recent years sales have slowed down. This may be to do with the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, but it could also show that people are simply happy with their phones and don’t feel like they need to spend money to upgrade. When companies such as Samsung are also prepared to bring new software features to older phones, it also doesn’t make sense to upgrade to the latest hardware.

Moves like this tend to keep customers happy – the motive here could be to keep Samsung fans loyal to the brand. But it could also be that the company wants to get more people using the AI features to see if there is a long-term interest in developing them, and to gather user data to improve the fledgling services.

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