Samsung unveils S8 smartphones with virtual assistant

Justin Denison, senior vice president of product strategy at Samsung, speaks about the new features on the Samsung Galaxy S8 during a launch event for the smartphone, Wednesday in New York City. Following the recall and discontinuation of the Sa
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Samsung on Wednesday unveiled its new Galaxy S8 smartphones, incorporating its 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.”

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The two handsets, fitted with screens of 5.8 and 6.2 inches, include Samsung’s upgraded digital assistant Bixby, competing in a crowded field that includes Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Koh said Bixby would provide users with “more and more personalized help,” using voice commands to navigate apps and services.

As the top-line handsets for the world’s biggest smartphone vendor, the Galaxy S8 models will challenge the latest Apple iPhones.

Their release comes after Samsung was forced to recall its Note 7 phones for catching fire due to overheating batteries.

The debacle cost the South Korean company billions of dollars in lost profit and hammered its global reputation and credibility, during a torrid period when it has also been embroiled in a corruption scandal.

The company apologized to consumers for the recall and was forced to postpone the S8 launch. Its investigation blamed the problems on faulty batteries.

Samsung later embarked on a campaign to restore its battered reputation, placing full-page advertisements in US newspapers, admitting it “fell short” on its promises.

The tech giant says it has also come up with elaborate step-by-step safety verification procedures for future products to prevent similar disasters.

-AP

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