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Samsung brings AI features to S22, Flip4, Fold4 phones

Gelo Gonzales

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Samsung brings AI features to S22, Flip4, Fold4 phones
Two features – Circle to Search and Chat Assist – also come to Samsung's 2021 phones: the S21, Flip3, and Fold 3

MANILA, Philippines – Samsung on May 10 announced its older flagship smartphone devices, the S21 and the S22, along with older foldables Flip3, Fold3, Flip4 and Fold4, will be receiving Galaxy AI features that were initially launched with the brand’s 2024 release, the S24. 

Initially, Galaxy AI features were only slated to trickle down to Samsung’s 2023 offerings, the S23, Flip5, and Fold5. 

Via Samsung’s OneUI 6.1 update, the brand’s 2022 phones (S22, Flip4, Fold4) will receive many of the major AI features from the S24: Circle to Search with Google, Chat Assist, Interpreter, Live Translate, Note Assist, Transcript Assist, Browsing Assist, Generative Edit, Edit Suggestion, and AI-Generated Wallpapers. 

The AI rollout is much more limited on the 2021 phones (S21, Flip3, Fold3) with only Circle to Search with Google, and Chat Assist making the jump. 

The OneUI 6.1 update started to roll out in May. 

A quick explanation on on-device vs. external processing of AI features

While machine learning algorithms have been used by phones for improving photography or overall performance, the S24 phones are, outside of Google’s own Pixel 8 phones, the first to incorporate Google’s large language models (LLMs), the Gemini Pro, Gemini Nano, and text-to-image diffusion technology Imagen 2. 

Gemini Nano, first rolled out in the Pixel 8 Pro phones in late 2023, allows phones to translate voice calls, and in-person conversations, and transcribe audio recordings without the need for an internet connection. 

Often, those tasks require a large amount of processing. On one hand, when you use ChatGPT for example, the processing happens on ChatGPT’s computers, not on the user’s. The user only sees the end result: for example, a summary of all the news about a particular topic. 

On the other hand, Gemini Nano, an LLM optimized for the limitations of a mobile device, allows similar kinds of processing to happen on the device, without having to use a third party service’s computers such as in the case of ChatGPT usage. 

The benefit of being able to access these functions without the need for an internet connection isn’t superficial. It’s useful for when you’re traveling in a country with a different language, or when you’re conversing with a person speaking a different language, and an internet connection can’t be guaranteed. 

Gemini Pro, on the other hand, is a more powerful LLM that is reportedly capable of competing with ChatGPT 3.5. Given that, the use of Pro requires external processing, and is not on-device. It allows for features such as content summarization, generative image editing, writing style and grammar assistance, and chat assist features. 

OneUI 6.1 update

All of these things come to older models thanks to the OneUI 6.1 update – certainly an update that users of Samsung’s 2022 flagship phones can be excited about, as they no longer have to upgrade to newer models to enjoy the new AI functions. 

Beyond the rollout of these AI features to older phones, there’s already chatter online as to how these AI features could evolve with the next models. Samsung is known for holding at least two “Unpacked” product launches every year, with the S-level phones being introduced in the first, and as has been the case as of late, their foldables in their second event usually held at the start of the year’s second half. 

The criticism that Samsung received for its first phones heavily marketed for its AI features, is that the overall package could’ve been more cohesive, as opposed to being just a mix of features. With a few months in between the S24 and whenever the next flagship devices will be launched, the question remains: How has Samsung polished its AI game? – 

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.