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Samsung to roll out AI features to Galaxy S23 and foldable models, with one big surprise

Starting in late March, users of older Samsung Galaxy phones will gain access to Circle to Search, Live Translate, and more.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Samsung Galaxy S24 Circle to Search
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The trickling of Samsung's latest Galaxy AI features will begin on March 28, this Thursday, the company confirmed today. With the latest One UI 6.1 update, older Samsung devices including last year's Galaxy S23 series, Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5, Tab S9 series, and more will gain access to key Galaxy AI features, such as Circle to Search, Chat Assist, and Generative Edit.

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"Galaxy AI puts our groundbreaking suite of AI tools in the palm of more users' hands in different form factors -- tailoring the mobile experience to their needs. Now, Samsung is bringing Galaxy AI features to even more users across the Galaxy ecosystem," the company said in a Tuesday press release.

The full list of Galaxy AI features coming to older Samsung devices includes:

  • Communication services: Chat Assist, Interpreter, Live Translate
  • Productivity services: Circle to Search, Note Assist, Browsing Assist, Transcript Assist
  • Creative services: Generative Edit, Edit Suggestion, Instant Slow-Mo

I tested just about every one of the latest AI features when I reviewed the Galaxy S24 series in January and was pleased to find most of them leaning more toward the utilitarian side than gimmicky. Circle to Search, in particular, has become my go-to way to quickly learn more about what's on my phone screen, and Interpreter mode came in handy when I traveled to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Live Translation

Live Translation on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

With the upcoming One UI 6.1 update, it'll be nice to see users of older devices get in on the action too, though it seems Samsung is prioritizing models released in 2023 first. That includes the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, S23 Ultra, S23 FE, Z Fold 5, Z Flip 5, Tab S9, Tab S9 Plus, and Tab S9 Ultra.

Notably, Samsung says the feature rollout will happen across devices purchased directly from Samsung, at third-party retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, and carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and more. That last bit is the most surprising because carrier devices typically come with modified software and often require more time to maintain and push updates. So, while the company promises that those exclusive devices will also receive the new Galaxy AI features, the actual cadence may be slower. I'm hoping for the best.

Also: The best Samsung phones to buy in 2024

As for what qualifies an older device to receive the latest Galaxy AI features, your guess is as good as mine. If the chipset has anything to do with it, my guess is that the Galaxy S22 series, Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4, and Tab S8 series will be next on the receiving end, as they're all powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the same processor as the S23 FE. Considering Samsung's recent hot streak of software updates, I wouldn't be surprised if that moment comes sooner rather than later.

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