Samsung Unpacked 2024: What we expect and how to watch Wednesday’s hardware event

Samsung Unpacked 2024 kicks off Wednesday at 6 a.m. PT/9 a.m. ET. Why so early for our West Coast pals? The Galaxy device showcase is happening in Paris this year, putting the local start time at 1 p.m. CET. Paris, as luck would have it, is also kicking off the Summer Olympics roughly a fortnight later — an event for which Samsung happens to be a massive sponsor.

If past is precedent — and it always is with this stuff — foldables will take center stage at the Samsung event. The company has adhered to a six-month flagship release cycle for several years now. Since Samsung retired the Note in 2022, that’s meant new Galaxy S devices in January and February and Galaxy Z Folds and Galaxy Z Flips over the summer. Along with the change in scenery, however, it’s looking like the Samsung event will be packed.

Other expected headliners include a lot of time spent on Galaxy AI, which already got a good bit of face time at the Galaxy S24 event. That Unpacked also offered a “one more thing” in the form of the Galaxy Ring, which broke coverage a little over a month later at MWC in Barcelona. Expect some concrete info on the new wearable, along with other accessories like Galaxy Buds.

You can watch Galaxy Unpacked live here.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip 6 updates

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip 6.
Image Credits: Brian Heater

Obviously both new foldables have already leaked, along with most of the devices discussed below. Samsung’s core competencies are manufacturing components, making great hardware and leaking all of the above early.

The company’s all-in commitment to the foldable form factor has changed a lot of minds over the last several years. Plenty of questions about reliability and consumer interest swirled around the first few generations, but it’s safe to say that Samsung has proved that foldables are, indeed, a viable category.

Both new models will be powered by the Snapdragon 8 gen 3 process Qualcomm unveiled in Hawaii last fall (I really need to talk to someone about my travel budget). The Galaxy S24 series was among the first devices to get the new system-on-a-chip, a list that also includes devices from OnePlus and Xiaomi, while Vivo introduced a foldable with the silicon back in March.

The Fold 6 is reportedly getting some key design tweaks, making it thinner and lighter than its predecessor, with an adjusted 22:9 aspect ratio. That would put it more in line with the very good foldable offerings from Google and OnePlus. Other rumors point to a brighter screen and a new aluminum shell, while the Galaxy Fold is said to be getting an upgraded battery.

Galaxy AI

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Image Credits: Brian Heater

As you’ve no doubt heard, international law now requires that all phone manufacturers spend half of every event talking about how cool AI is. Samsung devoted a good bit of its winter Unpacked to the subject, showcasing a number of new camera features and its Circle to Search partnership with Google. Google picked up the mantle at I/O in May, while at WWDC last month, we learned that “AI” apparently stands for “Apple Intelligence” now.

Samsung’s biggest challenge here is finding ways to set Galaxy AI apart from the myriad Gemini features that are coming to Android. Details on those plans are a little hazy beyond things like a new translation feature for WhatsApp.

Galaxy Ring release date and price

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Image Credits: Samsung

Samsung threw us a fun curve ball at the last Unpacked event with the brief announcement of a new wearable. With the arrival of Galaxy Ring, the company takes a step into a category that has thus far been dominated by smaller names like Oura. When the product was unveiled, all of those companies offered us comments along the lines of being happy that Samsung has effectively validated their space.

Oura CEO Tom Hale told TechCrunch at the time, in part, “New players entering the space is validation for the category and drives us to aim higher to serve our members and community.”

As for what that validation will look like, Samsung will finally deliver concrete details. The Ring should get a release date and price; rumors are suggesting a $300 ballpark. That would put the device in line with Oura, but the question remains how much of the cost Samsung might tie up in a premium health software subscription (also like Oura’s).

Other things we’ll be looking out for at Samsung Unpacked

Samsung Galaxy Watch
Image Credits: Brian Heater

Samsung’s earbud philosophy has always been the smaller, the better. For years now, the company has relied on a small, spherical design that sits flush against the ear. It does the job for the most part, but this limits control, as there isn’t much surface area to interact with. Naturally, the company is adding stems — and an oblong charging case.

If the leaks thus far are any indication, a lot of people are going to ask you if they’re AirPods next time you wear them out. Given that the copyright holder has struck down many of the images posted to Twitter/X, there’s a good sign that the leakers are onto something here.

Said leakers have also posted images of what purports to be the Galaxy Watch 7. Samsung also confirmed the new wearable is coming soon with a pre-show announcement of a new BioActive sensor. The company notes:

The all-new BioActive Sensor is essential to bringing you better preventative health experiences on the next Galaxy Watch, with design improvements that enable even more precise health insights. Samsung engineers focused on three upgrades to the new sensor: enhancing the performance of light-receiving photodiodes, adding additional colors of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and arranging them optimally across the sensor.

Between the upgraded Watch and the new Ring, it’s safe to assume the company is going to spend plenty of time talking up its health and fitness platform. Given Apple’s patent struggles of late, Samsung might as well strike while the iron is hot.

TechCrunch will bring you the news as it happens. Galaxy Watch this space.

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