What to expect at next week’s Galaxy Unpacked event

A little over one week from now, Samsung will be kicking off its first Galaxy Unpacked event for 2024. More specifically on 17th January at 20:00 (SA time) at a venue in San Jose, California.

As has been the case post-pandemic, Samsung has wasted little time in showcasing its latest smartphone lineup at the beginning of each year, but next week’s event might be the earliest that the South Korean firm has done so.

Precisely why is unclear, but given past financial quarters have seen shipments of the company’s flagship phones slipping, it may want to get its new flagship devices in consumer hands earlier than before.

“Get ready to discover a new era full of possibilities with the latest Galaxy innovations, designed to transform how you live, connect and create. The new Galaxy S series will set a higher standard for the most intelligent mobile experience yet,” the company highlighted in a press release regarding the event’s announcement.

“On January 17, Samsung Electronics will host Unpacked in San Jose. Join us as we unveil the latest premium Galaxy innovations, providing an all-new mobile experience powered by AI,” it added.

While it’s clear that a new lineup of Galaxy S smartphones, likely the Galaxy S24 series, will be unveiled next week, the concept of Galaxy AI is a little more difficult to pin down.

As we have seen during CES 2024 this week, almost every consumer electronics manufacturer is looking for ways to imbue their products with AI tools and functionality.

Naturally a smartphone is no different, but it does bring up the question of where Bixby will fit into all of this. Bixby is Samsung’s seldom used digital assistant, and a piece of software that the company has not found a proper home or fully fledged use for just yet.

While the fate of Bixby is up in the air, Galaxy AI is described as a “comprehensive mobile AI experience”.

That is still a little vague, but Samsung has noted that conversation, productivity, and creativity will all benefit from this AI experience. We could therefore see Galaxy AI put to work in some specific Galaxy apps like its note taking, email, camera, and text-based applications.

One example of how Galaxy AI will work is live audio and text translations on phone calls, although it’s unclear what kind of languages would be supported, as well as whether this feature would strictly work on the native phone app on the device or other applications like WhatsApp too.

This will no doubt bring up more questions around privacy, but it’s clear that Samsung wants to imbue as much of the smartphone’s UI with AI as possible.

As for the actual hardware that will be showcased at Galaxy Unpacked, we already have an idea of what S24 Ultra model looks like thanks to leaks in Brazil. In terms of styling, it looks much like the Galaxy S23 Ultra, so much of the improvements will be internal, where Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 will be powering things.

The same chipset is expected to be used across the Galaxy S24 lineup, with all three also supporting 5G, which has been a staple for some time now. Along with the Ultra model, a regular and larger S24 Plus are in the offing from Samsung.

It still remains to be seen when Samsung plans to launch the phones in regions like South Africa, with no word on a local launch event at the time of writing. That may change over the coming days, however.

In terms of how you’ll be able to tune into next week’s Galaxy Unpacked, there are three options.

The first two involve checking out the live stream, with Samsung hosting it on both its website and official YouTube channel.

The third is Hypertext, as we’ll be sharing posts and information about the new devices and Galaxy AI on the night via our X account, which you can follow here.


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