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The Galaxy S24 gets seven years of updates, $1,300 Titanium “Ultra” model

Enlarge / The Galaxy S24 line.

Samsung

Samsung has unveiled its new flagship phones for 2024: the Galaxy S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra.  Considering Samsung’s usually conservative year-to-year changes, there are a lot of differences this year.

The S24 Ultra now has a titanium body, just like the iPhone 15. It also has a “fully flat display,” ending years of Android’s weird curved OLED panel gimmick that only served to distort the sides of the display. Samsung says the new Ultra design has “42 percent slimmer bezels” and a front hole-punch camera cutout that is “11 percent smaller” than those on the S23 Ultra. The rest of the design looks like Ultra models of past years, with rounded edges and a flat top and bottom. The bottom still houses an S-Pen for handwriting and drawing.

All that titanium will cost you. The S24 Ultra is $100 more than last year, coming to an eye-popping $1,300. An iPhone 15 Pro Max is $1,200, and a Pixel 8 Pro is $1,000, so that’s a tough sell.

The smaller S24+ and S24 models are aluminum and feature a new design with a flat, metal band that goes around the phone’s perimeter, making the devices look a lot like an iPhone 4 or 15. Both models have slimmer bezels and 120 Hz displays; Samsung says all the S23 displays can hit a peak brightness of 2600 nits in sunlight mode. The S24 and S24+ prices are the same as last year: $800 for the S24 and $1,000 for the S24+.

Another big announcement is that Samsung is matching Google’s new update plan and offering “seven years of security updates and seven generations of OS upgrades.” Previously, it gave four years of updates. Apple doesn’t have a formal update policy, but with the iPhone X recently lasting from iOS 11 to iOS 16, Samsung can now credibly say the S24 offers more major OS updates than a typical iPhone. (Let’s not bring up the speed of those OS updates, though, which can still take months.)

Google announced seven years of updates for the Pixel 8, but as the maker of Android and with its own “Tensor” SoC, Google’s support system exists outside of the usual Android ecosystem that most OEMs have to deal with. Samsung has somehow gotten Qualcomm to commit to seven years of update support, which feels like a sea change in the industry. Previously, Qualcomm was very resistant to long chip life cycles, with Fairphone desperately sourcing an “industrial” Qualcomm chip just to get five years of support from the company in 2023. This change is what the Android ecosystem has needed for years, and we hope this level of support will be open to all companies in the future.

In the US, the Galaxy line is getting a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Last year, Samsung and Qualcomm signed a sweetheart deal to make the S23 line exclusively use Snapdragon chips worldwide and with that came an exclusive up-clocked “Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy” chip. This year Qualcomm isn’t the exclusive chip provider, but the “For Galaxy” branding is back, according to this Qualcomm press release, so this has the “Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform for Galaxy”. We don’t have any hard data on what exactly the difference is, but the Qualcomm press release promises a “30 percent faster GPU” than last year, while the normal Gen 3 site says the GPU is “25 percent faster.” Exynos chips get an AMD Radeon GPU, so Qualcomm pumping up the GPU to compete makes sense.

And speaking of Exynos chips, they’re back! The S24 chip gets a Snapdragon chip in the US, while internationally, some models will go back to Samsung Exynos chips (specifically the Exynos 2400). Samsung only tells the US press about US specs, but an earlier SamMoble report claims that “the Exynos 2400 will power the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24+ in pretty much every country other than the US, Canada, Korea, China, and Japan.” Note that those are the two smaller models. If you’re in the market for an Ultra, the site says there is no Exynos Ultra model—they’re all Snapdragons. Qualcomm’s press release backs this up, saying Snapdragon powers “[the] Galaxy S24 Ultra globally and Galaxy S24 Plus and S24 in select regions.”

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