Samsung Finally Launches Galaxy S9
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd launched its flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone on Sunday, putting emphasis on visual applications for social media that hopefully can attract tech-savvy young consumers to withstand a market slowdown.
Samsung launched the S9 at the mobile gadget fair in Barcelona, attracting thousands of reporters to see how the world's biggest smartphone maker could innovate in a category in which the big players are technologically closer than ever.
DJ Koh, Samsung's president of IT and mobile communications, said the most important function of a phone today was "visual communication", and the Galaxy S9 had been designed for the visual and social generation.
The South Korea-based technology giant is banking on new features such as augmented reality-based emojis, camera upgrades, and stereo speakers in a form-factor similar to last year’s model to take on Apple Inc.’s iPhone X.
It features improved cameras, an artificial intelligence-powered voice tool, and social media functions that are easier to set up than previous offerings.
New features include an automatic super-slow motion camera setting that looks geared up to show up on Instagram feeds soon, and software that turns selfies into instant emojis.
“The camera will be an important component” to help the S9 stand out from Apple’s iPhone X, Samsung Chief Marketing Officer David Lowes said in an interview in Barcelona. “It’s often the No. 1 feature people consider. What could be a real differentiator is the intelligence behind the camera.”
While Samsung is challenging the iPhone X’s Animoji feature with its take on the phenomenon, the company isn’t fighting Apple’s new design. The new Samsung phones, which come in the same 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch screen sizes, look similar to last year’s phones save for slightly slimmer bezels on the top and bottom.
Samsung had 22 percent of the smartphone market in 2017, ahead of Apple’s 15 percent, according to researcher IDC. While the iPhone X launched with much display late in the year, many consumers regard pricey flagship handsets as a luxury rather than a necessity and stick to cheaper models or previous generations.
Samsung’s products have been less integrated than Apple’s, too. Samsung is trying to change that with the S9 by making it work better with its TVs and other appliances, and its SmartThings connected-home platform. The company is also preparing its own smart speaker to compete with the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod.
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