Google-made Galaxy S24 AI tricks prove Pixel doesn’t need Tensor (but Samsung needs Google)

With a new partnership between Google Cloud and Samsung, Galaxy S24 users will be able to access our most capable AI model, Gemini, through apps and services built by Samsung.

We look forward to working with Samsung to bring Gemini into even more product experiences for Galaxy users around the world. Learn more about Google Cloud and Samsung’s partnership.

Official statement from Google on new Samsung partnership. Google’s AI algorithms can be found all over the Galaxy S24 series.

But hold on… Why in the world is Google allowing Samsung early and exclusive (!) access to some of its most precious AI features, which make the Pixel as special as it is? The answer is… business.

Google and Samsung are closer than ever, and they don’t try to hide it. Samsung manufactures the Tensor chip powerding Google’s Pixel phones, while Google is now returning the favor by sharing its most powerful AI algorithms with Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 phones.

Building on their existing relationship, Samsung and Google’s partnership is now stronger than ever. The South Korean tech giant makes modified Exynos chips (a.k.a. Tensor) for Google’s Pixel flagship, while Google gives Samsung access to exclusive software and AI features even before the Pixel 8 gets them!

Source: Ben Sin (XDA).
So, all of this sounds like an incredible deal for Samsung, as the Galaxy S24 series of phones also become the first Android phones (after Google’s Pixel) to offer seven years of Android OS updates. But what does Samoogle’s friendship with benefits mean for the Pixel phone and Android as a whole?

As far as the Pixel is concerned, perhaps the one question that immediately popped up in my head was: Do we really need Tensor, which (as it’s become clear) isn’t what makes the Pixel smart?

But it gets even more interesting, because (as discovered by Ben Sin) the Google-made AI algorithms/features appear to be running smoother and faster on the Galaxy S24 than on the Pixel 8. And don’t be shocked when I tell you that the only possible reason for that would be the more powerful CPU, GPU, and NPU in the S24.To put it plainly, it now looks like Tensor is holding the Pixel 8 back. Even more than before. With that in mind, the ball is now in Google’s court… Make the next Tensor SoC powerful enough so the Pixel can run its entire suite of AI tricks as fast as it should, or switch back to Qualcomm chips?

Galaxy S24 and Google’s commitment issues: Is Google’s priority to make the best Pixel phone possible; make the best version of Android possible, or make the best business decisions possible?

Looking at the bigger picture, I can’t help but ask myself what Google’s priorities are. Apparently, being the world’s leading data centre, the creator of Android, and a phone-maker, isn’t an easy balancing act to pull off.

Is Google working to make Android better than iOS – in its role of a software company, or is Google working to make the Pixel better than the competition – from the perspective of a phone-maker?

But if this is the case, then why is the Galaxy S24 getting early access to AI features not yet available on Pixel? And why is the Galaxy S24 able to run the same AI features faster and smoother than Pixel, which settles for a noticeably inferior chip?

Google-made Galaxy S24 AI features prove Samsung gets special treatment: Is this fair towards other Android phone-makers?

Last but not least, I have a strong feeling the new AI tricks shared between the Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8 might not be coming to any other Android phone anytime soon. And if that’s indeed the case, it’d put other Android phones running on (supposedly) the same version of Android at a clear disadvantage.

The reason I think Google’s new AI algorithms could end up being exclusive to the Pixel and Galaxy is that they aren’t tied to a new Android version like many new Android features usually are. Instead, these new AI tricks launch in the middle of the transition from Android 14 to Android 15. Hence, I don’t see how a Xiaomi or a OnePlus phone will get them without Google’s explicit assistance.

Now, business is business, and Samsung and Google clearly share a lot of it, but by treating Samsung’s Galaxy differently than other Android phones, Google can make it so that the likes of OnePlus, Motorola, Xiaomi, etc. are put at a competitive disadvantage compared to the Galaxy (and Pixel).And again, this makes me ask:

  • Is Google now working to make Android better and more competitive as a whole, and for every phone that uses Android?

  • Is Google working to make the Pixel the best Android phone in the world – something all other Android phone-makers are trying to achieve with their own flagship phones?

  • Is Google working to strengthen its partnerships and business with the likes of Samsung?

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