Sam­sung seeks re­demp­tion with S8

New Straits Times - - Business -

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

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