Samsung on Wednesday unveiled its new Galaxy S8 smartphones, incorporating the 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 DJ Koh told a New York event the Galaxy S8 and S8 handsets marked “a new era of smartphone design.”
Fitted with screens of 5.8 and 6.2 inches, the two handsets include Samsung’s upgraded digital assistant 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 will also enhance the phone’s capabilities as a remote control for connected home devices, Thodla said.