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    Make no mistake, Samsung wants to sell you a subscription

    Opinion
    By 

    Last updated: May 22nd, 2024 at 17:10 UTC+02:00

    It seems to me like almost every company wishes it had a subscription-based service to offer. Recurring revenue is a big deal for tech giants, and if you were to ask me, I'd say Samsung is trying very hard to create its own.

    When successful, subscription services are kind of like a gold mine, as they offer several benefits, including a steady monthly revenue stream, an easy way to gauge the user's level of engagement with the paid service, and an extra reason for users to buy into and stay invested in a brand's ecosystem — think Apple Music and iCloud.

    Samsung doesn't quite have anything like that. But not for lack of trying. Samsung Cloud gave the company a subscription-based revenue stream until Samsung discontinued the service and replaced it with Microsoft's OneDrive for things like Gallery backups.

    Nowadays, Samsung appears to be looking very hard to set in place a new subscription-based service, and two possible answers are Galaxy AI and Samsung Health.

    Samsung hopes to get a monthly subscription from you

    Samsung offers free services like the ad-based Samsung TV Plus, Gaming Hub, Samsung Health, Galaxy AI, and others. However, it seems to me like Samsung is really trying to get a monthly subscription out of willing customers, and it's been trying to figure out how to do it successfully for some time.

    Granted, the company already offers the subscription-based Secure Wi-Fi service. It's baked into One UI on Galaxy phones and tablets. It costs €0.99 for unlimited 24-hour Wi-Fi protection or €1.99 for a month.

    However, very few people seem to be using this service, and it's not necessarily something that adds value to the Samsung brand. Secure Wi-Fi is more or less a VPN with no option to change regions. And the latter feature (which is missing on Secure Wi-Fi) is one of the things that make VPNs so successful nowadays. Changing regions manually allows users to circumvent region-locking for their other subscription-based streaming services, such as Netflix.

    These services aside, it seems like Samsung is considering all sorts of ideas to hook customers into a more reliable recurring revenue stream. With the rise in popularity of ChatGPT, one answer could be Generative AI. For the past half a year or so, Samsung has hinted at the possibility of offering paid Galaxy AI features after 2025.

    Furthermore, at the beginning of the year, the head of Samsung Health, Hon Pak, said the company is “considering” creating a subscription service for the Health app, as long as it's worth the cost (via CNBC). “If you're going to really make me pay for something, you better give me something that's more end-to-end, that's more comprehensive,” said Hon Pak in an interview in February.

    Story continues after the video…

    Samsung is now developing more Galaxy AI features and is preparing to announce the Galaxy Ring. Whether or not the company will release a new subscription service linked with either (or both) Galaxy AI and Samsung Health remains to be seen. But smarter features powered by AI seems to be the latest trend Samsung is considering using as a foundation for a new subscription service.

    At this rate, I guess it's safe to say that Samsung will eventually find a sweet spot — a way to claim it can offer more value for money if you want to pay for it. And the company will probably make at least some of its users want to pay for a monthly subscription for one service or another.

    So, you may want to brace yourself for a new possible subscription you may end up paying sooner or later. Make no mistake, for better or worse, Samsung is trying very hard to get some monthly recurring revenue from its users, and I believe it will keep trying until it gets it right.

    Oddly enough, I kind of hope Samsung never will get it right and give up trying, as I already feel like I have too many subscription offers to worry about, and I'm against the notion that everything should be offered through a monthly payment plan. But perhaps Samsung will offer just enough value to make it right. Let's hope for the best.

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