Samsung has now revealed that through a partnership with Google, its Galaxy S20 series will be the first non-pixel devices to pack Live Caption accessibility features. The company made the announcement today near the end of the keynote at its annual Samsung Unpacked 2020 event. Google Platforms & Ecosystems SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer took to the stage to peel back the details.
The accessibility-based feature is aimed at making it easier for the hard-of-hearing or otherwise hearing-impaired to interact with video content. Specifically, that's content that doesn't come with captions. It's explicitly designed to add captions to almost any video content. Live Caption also works entirely on-device via three separate AI learning models.
That doesn't solely work with videos where audio is easy to hear either. Instead, it's intended to work as well with audio that isn't clear. Google highlighted that during the feature's launch with a video of a young girl that was difficult to understand while speaking.
This is the same Live Caption feature already found on Google Pixel handsets
Google's Live Caption feature is not entirely exclusive to Samsung's new Galaxy S20 models. The feature first appeared on the search giant's own Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL handsets. Google later rolled out the feature to its Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL handsets, as well as its Pixel 3a series mid-rangers. That update arrived in early December of last year.
That means that not only does Live Caption work in video content on Samsung's new Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra. It will actually work across podcast apps and any other app that supports video media formatting. In some cases, that will work with audio too such as in audio messaging apps, allowing users to read messages that are otherwise video-free.
Where the launch of this feature differs is primarily in how it's been included. Through its partnership with Google's Android team, these are going to be the first Android devices that don't bear Pixel branding that ship with Live Caption available right out of the box.
The Galaxy S20 comes with the power to drive this powerful AI
It isn't immediately apparent why no other smartphones running Android have launched yet with Live Caption. But it isn't difficult to imagine that running three AI algorithms concurrently is a power-hungry process. So it isn't out of the question that it's the underlying hardware in the Galaxy S20 series that's making Live Captions possible.
The Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra are some of the most powerful devices around. To begin with, Samsung has packed its newest handsets with the Snapdragon 865. That's the most powerful 64-bit octa-core processor released to-date by Qualcomm.
Backing that up, Samsung incorporated a minimum of 12GB of RAM in the US. Outside of the US, 8GB RAM will be the minimum. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will ship with up to 16GB. But that isn't the standard RAM either. Samsung has used LPDDR5 RAM, that's as much as 30-percent faster and 20-percent more efficient. So there will be plenty of power here for driving the new Live Captions feature seamlessly for whatever media it does work with.