Galaxy S24
An influencer poses with Samsung’s new line of Galaxy S24 model phones offering AI functions at the Galaxy Unpacked event in San Jose, California, on January 17, 2024. Image Credit: REUTERS

Dubai: AI services available in real-time – that’s the promise Samsung is delivering with the premium Galaxy S24 smartphone, with the handsets priced between Dh3,199 to Dh6,599 going on sale in the UAE. Based on retailer feedback, Samsung has broadly kept the prices steady compared to S23 from last year. (The top of the range S24 1TB Ultra handset comes to Dh6,599.)

The first buyers should get their new smartphones from January 31.

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If 5G-enabled handsets was the selling point for smartphone vendors in the last 2 years, the industry believes consumers are ready for a bit of AI to light up their user experience. And Samsung believes they are getting just that with its ‘Galaxy AI’ program.

And what does that mean for S24 buyers? Real-time – or ‘live’ - translation of voice and text comes across as the standout AI backed feature.

The best part is that Samsung has kept prices steady for all the S24 models except the top-end choice.

- Rajat Asthana of Eros Group

For instance, the AI built into Samsung Keyboard can translate messages in real-time in 13 languages. And while in the car, the Android Auto feature will ‘automatically’ summarize incoming messages and ‘suggest replies and actions, like sending someone your ETA, so you can stay connected while staying focused on the road’.

“Until now, AI uses had been loosely used by tech companies – now, that’s being translated into real-time services for users,” said Rajat Asthana, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai-based tech distributor and retailer Eros Group. “The best part is that Samsung has kept prices steady for all the S24 models except the top-end choice.

"Samsung is trying to take a lead in the premium end of smartphones with AI features - these do give a new meaning to the 'smart' aspect of smartphones."

Helping with the pics

Given Samsung’s legacy, the new range does more than its fair bit on the camera aspect of it. Again with a touch of AI in it.

The ‘ProVisual Engine’ is a set of AI-powered tools will help with ‘setting up a shot all the way to sharing it on social’. “Gone are shaky, pixelated images taken from far away,” is how Samsung puts it.

"The smartphone war (with Apple) has been taken to the next level with Galaxy AI," said Asthana. "Now, it is not just on the hardware (hardware having reached a parity for all) but moved to AI features and functions in the smartphone. It does make the future of this industry very interesting and opens an entirely new world of technology in your hands."

In the UAE, Apple and Samsung hold a market share estimated at over 80 per cent. 

A bit of Generative AI too

“To give users even more creative control and freedom, Generative Edit can fill in parts of an image background with Generative AI,” the tech company added.

It means that ‘when an object needs to be slightly moved to be in the perfect position, AI lets users adjust the position of the subject and generates a perfectly blended background in its original spot’.

Clearly, Samsung has set the AI benchmark high for its competitors. S24 will be the gamechanger for Samsung.

- Saleem Javed of TouchTel
The S24 sports a 6.2-inch screen, while the S24+ takes on the 6.7-inch version. The Ultra goes up to 6.8 inch.

Light up UAE's smarphone action

"Pre-bookings for the Galaxy S24 are heavy, the markets and consumers are clearly excited about the AI twist," said Saleem Javed, founder of the Dubai-based smartphone wholesaler TouchTel. "This looks like a major hit for Samsung. The AI features will immediately be felt in the camera capability and user experience."

"The advanced health features will be in a 'smart ring', the launch date of which is not yet announced."

Can this be the trigger for a sales boost?

Smartphone sales in the UAE had been having a relatively quiet few weeks, including in December, even though that period coincided with some of the heaviest promotions on offer. "Many consumers probably are waiting for the 2024 launches, and the S24 might have given them a reason," said the CEO of a tech-focused online marketplace.

Dubai will be one of the global 'experience centers' for the 'Galaxy AI' side of things. Apart from the upfront dedicated Samsung followers, the company will try and convince other handset users to switch. And the AI features will be the calling card for that.

"Clearly, Samsung has set the AI benchmark high for its competitors," said Javed. "S24 will be the gamechanger for Samsung - it’s the most beautiful S series phone so far."

The biggest Chinese brands will soon be launching their own AI-enabled versions - in this regard, Samsung has shown that this needn't come with a price bump. Of course, the big moment will be when Apple introduces its next smartphone - how much of AI features will that one have?