Samsung isn’t bringing AI features to Galaxy S21 and Flip 3, only Circle to Search

Samsung is bringing One UI 6.1 to its Galaxy S21 series and foldables from 2021, but the company is solely bringing Google’s Circle to Search to these older devices, whereas others are getting nearly the entire Galaxy AI suite.

The Galaxy AI suite of features first debuted on the Galaxy S24 series earlier this year before later expanding to Galaxy S23, Fold 5 and Flip 5, and the Galaxy Tab S9 series. Samsung’s AI features include on-device translation, generative AI photo edits, and many more.

This week, Samsung has started rolling out its Galaxy AI features to even older devices including Galaxy S22, Fold 4, and Flip 4, as announced last month. And, in a slight surprise, Samsung also released One UI 6.1 for the Galaxy S21 series, the Galaxy Z Flip 3, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

Those 2021 releases, though, get a very limited taste of the Galaxy AI experience.

The Galaxy S21 series and Galaxy Z Flip 3 aren’t getting most of it. In fact, the changelog solely mentions support for Circle to Search.

The (translated) changelog follows:

One UI 6.1 brings Google’s Search with Circles feature so you can easily search for anything on your screen without switching apps. Simply press and hold the home button or navigation handle, then draw a circle around the text or image on the screen to start a Google search right away.

That same paragraph is found in both the changelogs for the Galaxy S21 series and the Galaxy Z Flip 3, as shared by Tarun Vats on Twitter/X. SamMobile claims that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is getting more AI features, but the changelog shared does not say anything about AI features outside of Circle to Search.

Samsung hasn’t made clear why these older devices aren’t getting any other Galaxy AI features, but there is one reasoning point. If the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is really getting all of the same AI features as Samsung’s 2022 releases despite running on the same chipset as S21 and Z Flip 3. The only difference is that the Fold 3 has 12GB of RAM across all variants, where every other device Samsung released that year could have 8GB on lower-tier models.

That’s merely speculation, but given how RAM plays a vital role in on-device AI, that’s our best guess. The older Snapdragon 888 just may not have the horsepower to make up for the lack of RAM, where the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has that additional boost needed to bring those features to the newer generations.

It’s doesn’t seem out of the question for additional AI features to come to Galaxy S21 and these other devices, though, as it was said by Samsung previously that some cloud-powered AI features could be coming.

Samsung is rolling out One UI 6.1 to its 2022 and 2021 Galaxy flagships now, starting in select countries.

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