Samsung launches Galaxy S8 and dreams of recovery from Note 7

In January, Samsung said this was due to battery issues of the Note7 and said it now has an eight-point safety check protocol that includes using X-ray tests on the batteries. That certainly raised the bar for Samsung's President of Mobile DJ Koh, who kicked off the event.

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research was impressed by the new devices but also noted they would be priced higher than competitors from Apple and others.

Samsung was clearly eager to move on and reclaim its reputation as an innovator.

With this feature, Android apps that have desktop-optimized versions can be run as if they're on a PC.

Then there's Bixby, Samsung's answer to Apple's Siri and Google Assistant which is also expected to take over the company's IoT appliances under its control by 2020. In theory, devices with Bluetooth 5 can transfer data at 2Mbps, twice that of Bluetooth 4.2, but chipset makers like Nordic Semiconductor recently said they aren't yet hitting full speeds.

The Note 7 recall cost Samsung at least $5.3 billion. Samsung also explained in a demo today that there will be apps designed for real work in the desktop mode, including the Microsoft Office suite and Adobe Lightroom for photo editing and management. It's still early days for Bixby right now, and it's clear Samsung plans to build out the AI throughout its entire portfolio of connected devices, not just phones.

The two new smartphones come with larger screens, with Samsung also removing the physical home button and replacing it with a pressure sensitive "invisible" home button beneath the display.

It's a Super AMOLED panel that Galaxy fans will already be familiar with, only this time, it has beautifully rounded edges, and it takes up over 80 percent of the space on the front of the phone. The iris-scanning biometric technology seen in the Note 7 is retained, while the fingerprint scanner has been shifted to the back of the phone.




Preorders begin on Thursday, March 30 at 12:01 a.m. ET.

USA carriers T-Mobile US Inc TMUS.O and Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N announced retail pricing for the smaller S8 around $700. The dock is sold separately. These include a smattering of Samsung's own apps, like Internet and Email, but more will be available over time. The assistant can figure out your location from a picture and look for restaurants or other attractions nearby. "Samsung's initial Bixby implementation falls short of its goal of being a comprehensive AI assistant because of weak app integration and limited voice compatibility", said Ian Fogg, analyst at IHS Markit, in an email. Interestingly, a promotional video published by Samsung on Twitter Wednesday mentioned that English-language recognition would be available later this year.

There are multiple ways to interact with Bixby, including a Home screen that recommends situational dynamic cards, similar to Google Now.

A Samsung Galaxy S8 inside T-Mobile's network testing facility.

This year there's not a huge difference between Samsung's two flagship phones. Judging by the product unveiling and the company's new design direction, it could very well be.

As part of its launch, Samsung will be including its Gear virtual reality headset to customers pre-ordering the handsets.

The South Korean electronics giant also unveiled a new feature called Dex.

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