Samsung confirms huge Galaxy AI upgrade for Galaxy S25 phones

But the big question is whether you'll have to pay for it

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra hands-on images
(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)
Quick Summary

Samsung is planning to significantly upgrade Galaxy AI on the Galaxy S25 phones, powered by Google's next-generation on-device AI model Gemini Nano.

However, it's unclear whether these advanced AI features will remain free or become a paid service.

Samsung introduced Galaxy AI on the Samsung Galaxy S24 family of devices, one of the elements that helps make the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra one of the best phones that you can buy. And a new report suggests that the manufacturer is going to continue to add even more powerful AI tools in the next-gen Samsung Galaxy S25.

The news comes from the Daum Herald Economy (via 91mobiles) and reports on a lecture given by Cho Cheol-min from Samsung Electronics. He is claimed to have said, "Discussions on applying Google Nano version 2 to the Galaxy S25 have already begun."

It's rare for a brand to make references to forthcoming products, but here Samsung is making a huge statement of intent, to expand Galaxy AI (which is powered by Google's Gemini Nano), while also suggesting that there will be a version 2 of Google's AI software.

The comments were fairly non-specific, so it's worth taking this declaration with a pinch of salt. We know that Samsung will announce the Galaxy S25 in 2025 (most likely in January) and we now know that there are plans to expand the on-device AI offering.

Whether Google is going to label different versions of Gemini with successive numbering remains in doubt, I more suspect that the model will evolve fairly regularly, while keeping the Gemini name. We're likely to hear more about how Gemini will move forward at Google I/O in a couple of weeks.

Will you have to pay for AI on the Galaxy S25?

When Galaxy AI was announced alongside the Galaxy S24 devices, there was one aspect that didn't garner much attention: the fact that Galaxy AI might not be free forever. Head over to the Samsung website and you'll find disclaimers such as, "Galaxy AI features will be provided for free until the end of 2025 on supported Samsung Galaxy devices. Different terms may apply for AI features provided by third parties."

At the moment it's not clear if Galaxy AI will remain free, therefore, or if Samsung is just reserving the right to put it behind a paywall should it choose to do so. Samsung might plan to make Galaxy AI a paid-for element, in a similar way to a Google One subscription offering a few additional features on your Android phone.

Exactly what Samsung is planning to do with AI on the device also isn't clear. Currently the selection of features covers messaging support, live translation, transcription and photo enhancement, but it's clear that Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers have plans to take this further.

The important thing about Gemini Nano is that it's designed to run on the device. In the same briefing. Samsung's Cho Cheol-min also said that there's a lot of work going into AI on Exynos hardware, just as we know that Qualcomm is putting a lot into AI on Snapdragon.

Whether we'd ever reach a stage where these AI features are so important that Samsung users are happy to pay for them remains a different conversation. While hardware differentiation between phones has been slight in different years, there's a chance that next-gen phones will be defined by how they integrate AI.

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.