It was reported prior to the launch of the Galaxy S9 that Samsung’s new flagship will come with a “3D emoji” feature similar to Apple’s Animoji on the iPhone X. One report even suggested that Samsung’s feature would be more advanced than its Apple counterpart. Samsung unveiled this feature as AR Emoji on February 25 and the company wants you to know that the Galaxy S9 AR Emoji feature isn’t a copy of Animoji.
Galaxy S9 AR Emoji
One can understand why some would think that the Galaxy S9 AR Emoji feature is a copy of Animoji. The Galaxy S9 was announced merely a few months after the iPhone X and offers a feature similar to the one popularized by Apple.
DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung’s mobile division, says that this isn’t the case. He told The Wall Street Journal that this is a feature that the company has been working on for years and the way that the Galaxy S9 AR Emoji feature works is different from Animoji.
“Their approach and my approach is totally different. I do work seriously based off my own roadmap,” Koh said, without naming Apple. He added that he has personally explored 3D animations since 2001 on flip phones.
Koh’s explanation makes sense because it’s not unusual for companies like Samsung to work on internal projects for several years before they’re actually announced. Moreover, it’s unlikely that Samsung was able to fully develop the code for AR Emoji in a couple of months after the iPhone X was released in November 2017.
The Galaxy S9 AR Emoji feature is also fundamentally different in that it creates a digital avatar of the user. Animoji simply animates existing emoji with the user’s facial movements and voice.
It’s not like Apple broke new ground with Animoji anyway. 3D avatars have been available on PC for almost a decade now, Logitech webcams offered an Effects Avatars feature which also animated digital characters with the user’s facial movements and voice. Samsung can hardly be accused of copying the Galaxy S9 AR Emoji feature from Apple as a result.