Galaxy S24 AI features getting a paywall? Samsung mobile chief speaks out

Samsung Galaxy S24 in store with Galaxy AI sign in background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Samsung Galaxy S24 launched with plenty of hype surrounding the phone's AI features, such as the option to summarize and translate any web page, but a big question remained over whether users would have to eventually pay to keep using them.

Plenty of rumors began to swirl prior to launch that Samsung would keep these features free until 2025, when it moved them to behind a paywall.

Now, the question appears to have, in part, been answered by Samsung's mobile boss T.M. Roh, who confirmed to ET Telecom that the AI features will indeed remain free until 2025. Beyond that, things get a little murky. Roh explained that, beyond next year, Samsung hasn't made any firm decisions about whether or not the S24 AI features (some of which are being made available to older handsets) will remain free to all. However, he suggested there are plans to introduce more powerful AI features down the line for paying subscribers.

Roh told the publication: “According to our analysis, there are various needs for mobile AI. So, there will be consumers who will be satisfied with using the AI capabilities for free. Then there could also be customers who wish for even more powerful AI capabilities and even pay for them. So, in the future decision-making, we will take all these factors into consideration.”

Why would Samsung start charging for features? Quite simply, because it costs money to offer these services in the first place. It's said every ChatGPT search you make costs OpenAI around 36 cents. That's down to things like electricity, cooling and, of course, paying employees. While it may not sound like much, if enough people start using a service it ramps up dramatically. As of April last year, when ChatGPT really started taking off, it was apparently costing OpenAI $700,000 a day to keep running.

And regardless of the financial future of its AI offering, Samsung is clearly keen to expand its artificial intelligence as much as possible. Roh said the company plans to roll out AI features to over 100 million devices worldwide this year. That's a pretty big number and while Samsung has deep pockets, it's clearly not in the business of giving things away for free. What remains to be seen is whether or not consumers will value the AI services enough to want to pay for them after a year of use. After all, Apple quietly extended free Emergency SOS for another year for its iPhone 14 user base.

Meanwhile, if you're planning to take the leap on a Galaxy S24 or Galaxy S24 Ultra handset, then here are the 7 AI features you'll want to try first.

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