Since launch, even though there’s been a positive reception from most, we can’t help but feel there’s a dark and potentially ominous cloud over Galaxy AI. While its features are exciting and useful, we learned shortly after unveiling that even though it launches as free to use on the Galaxy S24 lineup, that may not always be the case.
Samsung’s fine print for Galaxy AI is as follows: Galaxy AI features will be provided for free until the end of 2025 on supported Samsung Galaxy devices. We asked Samsung for clarification on that and they simply reiterated the fine print. For now, Galaxy AI is free to use. However, that could change at the end of 2025.
Here’s where the new part to the story is. In a recent interview, Samsung’s TM Roh was speaking about those who would pay for AI capabilities on smartphones. Speaking to Economic Times, Roh said the following.
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.
Roh isn’t wrong at all. Undoubtedly, there’s going to be a large group of people not interested in paying for what Galaxy AI offers. However, others will. The way Roh frames the decision, it almost seems like Samsung would offer two tiers for Galaxy AI, such as a free version with limited features and then a paid version with all of the generative AI and photo editing features.
It’s Samsung and Google’s work and resources, so do the companies have the right to charge for it? Absolutely, but that doesn’t change the optics from the consumer standpoint. Galaxy AI is continuing to be marketed as the marquee feature for this lineup of devices, yet on most of the materials that I see (like commercials during the divisional championships over the weekend), I didn’t see any mention the features would need to be eventually paid for or a subscription required to access them. Just a bit more transparency is all we’re asking for, even if Samsung has yet to make any final decision.
I’ve seen people make the computer argument recently. People buy computer hardware and don’t expect the maker to provide a bunch of software for free. They’re expected to pay for the software they want to use. For the life of smartphones, that hasn’t been the case and I’d argue Samsung’s decision could set a new precedent on what users should expect their phones to come with out of the box. When I buy a $1K phone, I’m not expecting to have to pay to unlock all of the features, especially if they launched with the phone for free.
Big time decision that Samsung will soon have to make.