The AR Emoji service integrated into the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus isn't an attempt to copy Apple's Animoji which debuted with the iPhone X last fall, Samsung's mobile chief DJ Koh told The Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the ongoing Mobile World Congress. The industry veteran claims Samsung has been developing the augmented reality platform for several years and is seeking to provide users with an entirely different experience than what Animoji are offering. Instead of delivering a platform for animating traditional emoji approved by Unicode, Samsung opted to develop a solution for immortalizing its customers in the form of digital avatars that can be animated and shared with their family and friends.
Mr. Koh claims he personally pursued such 3D animation technologies since 2001 when he initially experimented with the idea of adding them to flip phones. The South Korean tech giant delivered its first flip phone with a colored screen a year earlier, having launched it in the form of the SCH-A2000. Ultimately, Samsung's executive believes AR Emoji are significantly more versatile than Animoji and offer a more personalized user experience that's also integrated into the rest of the software running on the Galaxy S9 at a deeper level. Some industry watchers have been comparing AR Emoji to Snapchat's Bitmoji and even Nintendo's Mii characters which the Japanese entertainment company introduced on the original Wii console in 2007. Miis are still available on Android devices through the Miitomo app, though Nintendo recently announced its intentions to discontinue the service on May 9.
While AR Emoji were presented as one of the selling points of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, the feature is just part of the Samsung's new product strategy focused on various AR and artificial intelligence applications. Both the Snapdragon 845 and Exynos 9810 variants of the newly announced flagships have been specifically designed and optimized for deep learning and general AI services that the industry is hoping will deliver the next generation of entertainment and mobile experiences. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are officially becoming available for pre-orders tomorrow and will begin retailing on March 16.