Huawei appears ready to renew its efforts to take on Samsung even more directly with the introduction of new 3D CuteMoji, based on a recent trademark listing sighted by Dutch tech site LetsGoDigital. The trademark is still awaiting approval and doesn't provide a lot of details but its name suggests that the associated downloadable software will feature emoji designed to look three dimensional. The obvious implication is that the company plans to deliver new AR-based emoji alongside a future update to either its Android overlay EMUI or camera software. That might arrive in conjunction with its upcoming flagships — the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro — or for current generation devices.
Competing where Samsung is paying the least attention
The timing of Huawei's patent and the probable release of 3D CuteMoji with the next-gen smartphones could arguably not be better since most of Samsung's efforts are currently being poured into its Samsung Experience redesign, One UI. That revamped interface is going to refine the user experience on Samsung's devices with a focus on minimalism and ease-of-use but doesn't seem to be bringing any major updates to AR Emoji at all. The feature was launched with the Samsung Galaxy S9 family of smartphones in early 2018 and relatively few changes have been made in the meantime. Among the bigger announcements related to the app at the company's SDC 2018 event was in the announcement of AR Emoji Studio. That allows for the creation of custom AR overlays for use in Samsung's camera but the company itself hasn't released many changes.
Huawei has already been competing on that front too. The company released its own 3D Live Emoji with the AR-enhanced camera in the Huawei Mate 20. The similarity in naming convention and the new trademark would appear to indicate that the company will be expanding on that software extensively. With the launch of EMUI 9 now well underway, Huawei is effectively free to focus its efforts where its biggest competitor isn't currently looking. Samsung presently occupies the number one spot in terms of global smartphone shipments and Apple holds the second spot but Huawei is poised to make the leap into position two. That's been in spite of the company's near constant turmoil with various world governments over the past year and a complete lack of any official presence in the US.
New emoji won't break the status quo
The launch of new AR emoji will almost certainly add some appeal to its handsets since it is one of the few areas where Samsung's devices still hold the upper hand. But it is definitely not going to be the move that finally starts to end tensions between Huawei and the US. The issue stems from the Chinese mobile manufacturer's close ties with Beijing and those concerns have only been reinforced over the past several months. The company's Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the request of the US over fraud allegations in early December. Although later released pending a court date, that event is thought to be behind the subsequent arrest of an increasing number of Canadian citizens in China. That move could be viewed as confirmation of claims regarding the OEM and no number of software feature releases is going to change that.