Samsung beats Google in adding AI to its wireless earbuds, but there's a catch

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on white background
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro (Image credit: TechRadar)

Samsung went big with the Galaxy AI features added to the Samsung Galaxy S24 phones, and those features are heading to other Samsung devices too – not just older handsets, but also certain Galaxy Buds models.

As per an email sent to users (via Android Authority), the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the Galaxy Buds 2, and the Galaxy Buds FE are going to get some of the key Galaxy AI tricks in an over-the-air update that's rolling out now.

Specifically, those tricks are Live Translation and Interpretation, so you can use your wireless earbuds to help with a real-time conversation in a foreign language. It seems the Babel fish originally envisioned some 40 years ago in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is now more or less a reality.

There is a catch, at least for the time being – you're still going to need a Galaxy S24 phone to use these features, though that may change as these AI features make their way out to older phones. Samsung also says that these features work on the actual devices, so no internet connection is needed.

AI for the people

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra with S Pen drawn, demonstrating Circle to Search

The Galaxy S24 is packed with AI features, like Circle to Search (Image credit: Samsung)

Only yesterday we heard that Google is planning to add features from its Gemini AI model to headphones that work with Google Assistant – headphones like the Google Pixel Buds Pro or the Sony WF-1000XM5, for example – though this was based on code hidden in the Google app for Android, rather than any official announcement.

As Samsung's AI features are rolling out to compatible Galaxy Buds earbuds right now, it looks to have beaten Google to pushing AI into people's ears – though we wouldn't expect Google to be too far behind, considering the pace with which it's pushing out new AI products (such as Google One AI Premium).

Next-gen AI is clearly going to be central to smartphones and every other gadget in the coming years. While Apple is a little behind the curve when it comes to these features, we're expecting iOS 18 to change that later this year.

It also means something else to consider when you're considering buying future products, such as the rumored Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro: just how much AI is included on board, and are you going to find any of it useful?

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.