By Joyce Lee
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics latest premium smartphones, unveiled on Wednesday, will have multiple AI functions, such as simultaneous translation of foreign language phone calls, in the company's latest push to challenge Apple.
Apple topped Samsung in 2023 smartphone shipments, according data provider International Data Corporation, dethroning Samsung for the first time since 2010 as demand for premium devices - a segment Apple dominates - outpaces market growth.
In response, Samsung is offering various artificial intelligence functions in its premium Galaxy S24 models as part of its strategy to attract buyers.
The new phones will have two-way voice translation in real-time of a live phone call conducted in two different languages, which the company said the Galaxy S24 series is the first ever smartphone to offer.
Available in 13 different languages, the on-device AI function is offered via Samsung's own generative AI training.
It also offers a "circle-to-search" function in which circling any part of an image on screen searches it in Google. Other features include AI translation and changing the tone of messages to casual, formal, business or social media.
There are also AI summaries and translation of voice recordings, "generative editing" of photos that fill in non-existent backgrounds, and a feature that turns real-time videos into slow-motion by filling in non-existent frames with AI.
On-device AI refers to generative AI functions that are downloaded to each user's device after being trained, which do not need to connect to the cloud.
Companies like Qualcomm and Samsung are touting on-device AI as more secure for personal information, as it does not need to send data to the cloud for use.
Just 5% of smartphones shipped in 2024 will be AI-capable, but this will grow to 45% in 2027, data provider Canalys forecasts.
However, this might not "immediately affect smartphone purchases", Park added, as it takes time for generative AI functions to incorporate more and better data to increase value for consumers.
The Galaxy S24 series will be sold starting Jan 31.
In the United States, the base Galaxy S24 will be priced from $799 and two higher-specification versions, the S24 Plus and S24 Ultra, from $999 and $1,299, respectively.
Samsung has kept the prices of the base model and Plus at the same level as last year's. The price of the Ultra has been increased by $100.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee. Editing by Jane Merriman)