Samsung Unpacks AI-Driven Foldables, Smartwatches, and Galaxy Ring in Paris

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Samsung unveiled a slew of new devices on Wednesday during its Unpacked event in Paris, France. Showcasing its latest foldable smartphones, the Android-powered Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6, alongside its next-generation smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 7 and Galaxy Watch Ultra, Samsung also introduced its highly anticipated Galaxy Ring. However, the spotlight was on the company’s Galaxy AI platform, a suite of software products initially launched with the Galaxy S24 line of smartphones earlier this year. The Galaxy AI platform features various generative AI capabilities that enhance Samsung’s health and fitness apps, photo, productivity, and web browser offerings.

Samsung’s strategy is evident: leveraging AI efforts, bolstered by Google’s AI technology, to boost device sales. Nonetheless, the company faces competition from Apple, which is poised to launch its AI software soon, possibly swaying Samsung users toward the iPhone.

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The latest devices from Samsung are impressive. The foldable phones and smartwatches are among the most capable on the market, and the Galaxy Ring introduces Samsung into the emerging smart ring market. But Samsung is clearly positioning its AI capabilities as a key feature of its new products. Galaxy AI integrates seamlessly into the Galaxy Ring, Watch 7, and Watch Ultra through the new Energy Score feature, which calculates a user’s fitness level based on sleep, exercise, and other metrics, expressed as a numerical value that helps users understand fluctuations in their energy levels.

Samsung has also introduced a conversation mode feature, allowing for real-time translation during conversations. Users can utilize the Fold’s and Flip’s screens as digital whiteboards to display and read translated text, enhancing cross-language communication. Additionally, Samsung’s photos app now includes generative AI features that can, for example, add realistic-looking sunglasses to a subject’s face in an image. Google’s AI technology, including Gemini software and assistant, also enhances Samsung’s devices.

In a bid to encourage upgrades, Samsung is differentiating its new hardware offerings from older devices through Galaxy AI features. Unlike Apple, which reserves its AI features for the newest iPhone models, Samsung is rolling out Galaxy AI software to previous-generation products such as the S22, Z Fold 4, Z Flip 4, S23, Z Fold 5, and Z Flip 5 series. This strategy targets consumers who typically hold onto their devices for two to three years, giving them a taste of Galaxy AI just as they might be considering an upgrade.

The new Galaxy Z Flip 6, although retaining minor physical enhancements, now features the Galaxy AI generative platform. Samsung reports that 77% of S24 owners use AI features weekly, and the company is considering charging a fee for its AI services in the future. This could not only retain customers but also create a new revenue stream.

However, the success of Samsung’s strategy could depend on Apple’s decisions regarding its Apple Intelligence services. If Samsung charges for AI software and Apple does not, it might incentivize users to switch to iPhones. Both tech giants are in a race to outdo each other in generative AI capabilities, and while Samsung has the advantage of being first to market, Apple’s forthcoming AI platform could change the competitive landscape. Time will reveal whether either company’s AI offerings will significantly drive sales.