Samsung seeks redemption with S8
NEW YORK: Samsung on Wednesday unveiled its new Galaxy S8 smartphones, incorporating the upgraded virtual assistant Bixby, as the market leader seeks to rebound from a chaotic handset recall and a corruption scandal.
The South Korean giant’s mobile chief D.J. Koh told an event, here, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ handsets marked “a new era of smartphone design”.
Fitted with 5.8 and 6.2-inch screens, the two handsets include Bixby, competing in a crowded field that includes Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The most striking feature of the new phones is what Samsung dubs an “infinity display” — an expanded glass screen that covers the entire front of the device and appears to curve seamlessly around its edges.
The home button has been replaced with a pressure-sensitive section embedded under the screen.
Both phones are water resistant and allow for biometric authentication with fingerprint and iris scanners.
Bixby marks a further step into services for the world’s biggest smartphone vendor, allowing users to shop, search for images and get details about nearby places with image recognition technology and geolocation.
Samsung’s services chief Sriram Thodla said Bixby would allow for better navigation of applications on the phone.
“We’ve built intelligence into the camera,” he said.
“If you see something you want to buy, just point the camera at it and Bixby will find it from one of our partners.”
The digital assistant would also enhance the phone’s capabilities as a remote control for connected home devices, said Thodla.
The South Korean electronics giant late last year bought Viv, an artificial intelligence startup with co-founders who were part of the team that built virtual assistant Siri, which Apple bought some seven years ago.
As Samsung’s top-line handsets, the Galaxy S8 models will challenge the latest Apple iPhones.
The new phones would be available starting April 21, said Samsung.
As part of its launch, Samsung will be including its Gear virtual reality headset to customers preordering the handsets.
Samsung also introduced its Dex adapter which allows the smartphones to be transformed into desktop computers. AFP