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Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6 have Galaxy AI, but much better AI is on the way

Published Jul 11th, 2024 12:07PM EDT
Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Fold 6: External displays.
Image: Chris Smith, BGR

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Samsung just unveiled its two new flagships, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6, which are both now available for preorder. Samsung also announced five new wearables you can preorder, including three that will make people say the Korean company is copying Apple again: The Galaxy Watch Ultra, Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, and Galaxy Buds 3.

Also, Galaxy AI was a main theme of the event, with AI features present in some way in all these devices. The phones will benefit especially from new and existing Galaxy AI features, including Google’s Circle to Search and the Gemini assistant that’s coming later this year.

As much as Samsung tried to hide it, there was no “Samsung Intelligence” at the show. By that, I mean a suite of AI features from Samsung that are anywhere near as sophisticated as Apple Intelligence. There was no Bixby upgrade announcement to rival the Siri AI that’s coming to iOS 18 devices.

The good news is that Samsung teased next-gen AI features that will take on Apple Intelligence at some point later this year. It sort of felt like the Unpacked event’s “one more thing.” But if there was one Apple product Samsung should have copied right away, that’s the Apple Intelligence suite of apps and features unveiled at WWDC 2024. Apple Intelligence is already being viewed as a huge driver for iPhone 16 sales.

No answer to Apple Intelligence?

Galaxy Z Flip 6, Galaxy Z Fold 6, Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, and Galaxy Watch Ultra on a table.
Galaxy Z Flip 6, Galaxy Z Fold 6, Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, and Galaxy Watch Ultra on a table. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

The Galaxy AI demos at Unpacked showed evolutions of current Galaxy AI features, with a big focus on live translation features. There were also some new capabilities like Sketch to Image, which lets users generate images using AI.

Samsung even included a celebrity cameo to showcase a new Photo Assist feature where you can generate images based on photos. Sydney Sweeney was in the audience, but she didn’t actually do anything other than watch an AI-generated 3D image based on a photo of her. This wasn’t even a demo that happened in real time.

It was at that point that I realized Galaxy AI wouldn’t get any really exciting AI assistant features at Unpacked. Samsung had no intention of surprising the audience with a suite of AI apps like Apple Intelligence for the new Fold and Flip phones. There was no talk of Bixby either, though Samsung did have Google demo Gemini on the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6.

If you’ve seen Apple’s WWDC event or Google’s I/O 2024 keynote, you’ll remember how amazing their respective AI assistant demos were.

Siri will be able to perform actions in apps and handle complex queries. It will also get contextual information about you and access to the screen so it can better assist you. With your permission, Siri will move some more complex questions to ChatGPT. Most Apple Intelligence features will run on-device, while cloud processing will benefit from a new Apple tech to secure the information exchange.

Google’s Gemini assistant demo was equally impressive. Probably starting with the Pixel 9, you’ll get a Gemini assistant that’s as good as GPT-4o or even better in addressing multimodal prompts. The phone will be able to hear and see what you hear and see. Voice interactions are about to get a lot more complex, too, similar to what’s available from ChatGPT.

Samsung could not match any of that at Unpacked, though it tried to make it look like the company was heading in the same direction.

Samsung’s big “one more thing” teaser

Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Galaxy Z Fold 6: Can you spot the crease?
Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Galaxy Z Fold 6 on a table. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

At the end of the show, right after we got prices for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6, Samsung had what seemed like a “one more thing” moment. It was similar in scope to the Galaxy Ring announcement from the Galaxy S24 Unpacked event in January.

Samsung teased a hybrid approach to Galaxy AI, similar to Apple’s, but without going into much detail as far as specifics. Samsung said that on-device AI applies to sensitive information, like conversations, and Live Translate and Interpreter features. More complex features will run in the cloud, though users can limit cloud AI from the phone’s settings.

That’s when Samsung dropped a teaser about better things to come. It started to sound a lot like a real answer to Apple Intelligence and Google Gemini:

In the near future, multimodal and contextual Al will function as an interconnected ecosystem, enhancing your everyday life by performing complex and personalized tasks.

Our on-device Al algorithms will develop a personal Knowledge Graph for each user, learning from your usage over time, to provide progressively tailored services.

Each personal Knowledge Graph will integrate multiple data points, understanding their context to offer a more personalized experience. For example, if you have a low Energy Score, Galaxy Al will analyze your schedule and suggest taking a break from your 7:00 AM spin class.

This level of integration will be achieved through on-device, secure information analysis.

That sounds a lot like the Siri and Gemini AI-based assistants we’re about to get in iOS 18 and Android 15. However, Samsung never mentioned Bixby and didn’t commit to any specifics.

Moreover, Samsung included Google in this one more thing moment, with Rick Osterloh coming on stage to detail the Samsung-Google partnership and recap the Gemini features coming to Android phones this year, including the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6.

Bixby will become an AI assistant

It was only after the show that Samsung mentioned Bixby by name. “We’re going to advance Bixby with application of Gen AI technology,” Samsung mobile chief TM Roh told CNBC. This Bixby upgrade will happen this year, with Bixby running on Samsung’s large language models.

Samsung did announce its Gauss models in early January. That’s what might be powering this Bixby AI. But I’m speculating at this point, as Roh did not reveal other details.

The executive added that Galaxy AI would support multiple voice assistants on its devices, like the Gemini assistant, which will be part of the Galaxy AI experience of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6.

But Roh seems certain that AI features “are strong motivations and drivers for the purchase of new products.” That’s all the more reason for Samsung to try to match Siri AI and Gemini with an assistant of its own.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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