Samsung unveils S8 smartphones with virtual assistant

 

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."

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 (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) '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 (Stockholm: NOTE.ST - news) 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.

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