Let's be honest. There's not a massive difference between last year's best phones and this year's: more megapixels, better low light shooting, marginally faster processors. But with the Samsung Galaxy S24 it seems that Samsung is about to make some seriously big changes to its smartphone flagships.
Inevitably it's about AI. A new report by SamMobile says that sources close to the firm say that the Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24+ and Galaxy S24 Ultra are going to be not just the smartest Samsungs ever, but the smartest AI phones ever.
As ever, AI is being used very loosely here to describe a lot of tech that may feel like artificial intelligence but is really just algorithms trained on a ton of data. But while details are sketchy, Samsung's ambition is clear.
What does an AI-powered Galaxy phone actually mean?
The sources aren't going into much detail, but say that the Galaxy S24 features will include some of the things we've seen in generative systems such as ChatGPT and Google Bard, so for example you'll be able to generate content based on a few simple prompts.
What that content will be hasn't been described, but a super-powered autocorrect / auto-reply system seems likely as does improved text to speech. Samsung has also previously discussed the use of text-to-image generative AI, which would enable you to create full images from a text description.
The key area where AI-style systems are becoming crucial is in photography, where computational photography has become as important as the optics: it's what powers some of the best photo features in devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Apple's iPhone 15 Pro.
It's clear that AI has become the key marketing focus for many phone firms in the way camera megapixels used to be, and the hype around AI means there's serious money being thrown at it. Apple is working on AI improvements for Siri and Facebook's parent Meta has signed deals with Qualcomm and Mediatek to include its ChatGPT rival, Llama 2, in forthcoming mobile chipsets, with promised uses including more responsive and personal digital assistants. By running them locally rather than on faraway servers they should perform much more quickly.
The Galaxy S24 range is expected to launch in early 2024.