How it would make a free feature a premium one without seriously irritating all the people who paid at least NZ$1,649 for an S24 handset is another matter, but when it launched Samsung did indeed only promise that features would be free until the end of 2025.
Now someone has asked Samsung’s TM Roh directly exactly what paid Galaxy features might be, and his answer is instructive — largely because he doesn’t really seem to know. Or if he does, he’s keeping it vague.
“According to our analysis, there are various needs for mobile AI,” he told ET Telecom. “So, there will be consumers who will be satisfied with using the AI capabilities for free. Then there could also be customers who wish for even more powerful AI capabilities, and even pay for them.
“So, in the future decision making, we will take all these factors into consideration.”
Overlooking the fact it doesn’t mention all the buyers who won’t ever use the AI capabilities, the statement actually raises more questions. Questions like ‘when will payments kick in?’, ‘will anything still be free?’ and ‘how much will these things cost?’.
What this probably means is that Samsung is waiting for some real-world data to see whether S24 buyers actually give a fig about the AI features it’s spent so much time and money developing. If they’re a big flop, it’s more likely the company would just close them down and pretend they were never a thing, rather than charging money to maintain something for a handful of people, after all.
Generally, it’s pretty hard for a company to start charging for a feature it once offered free of charge. Even Apple has had to give a whole extra year of SOS satellite communications to iPhone 14 buyers, presumably because it hasn’t quite figured out how to charge for it yet.