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The Computer Vision Arms Race, Smartphone Edition


Can’t choose between the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2? You may decide against either model, if you let computer vision features be your guide. At this past week’s Mobile World Congress, Samsung officially unveiled its S9 and S9+ smartphones, which essentially combine some of the best computer vision-enabled features from the Apple and Google flagship phones. On the iPhone X-like feature front, the S9’s AR Emoji feature is essentially a more customizable version of Apple’s Animoji and can be seen on more third-party messaging apps as they are in the more universal AGIF file format. Samsung’s Bixby Vision now lets you use the phone’s camera for AR features such as instant translations and info pop-ups about products and other objects à la Google Translate and Lens, respectively, but also brings something new to the table with calorie and nutritional information when pointing the camera at food. Meanwhile, Sony’s Xperia XZ2‘s front-facing camera can do a 3D scan of your face and head for avatar-like selfies. Bringing up the rear, both LG’s V30S ThinQ and Asus’s Zenfone 5 and 5Z use computer vision to recognize what’s in a scene you’re about to snap and optimizes it à la Huawei Mate 10 Pro (which, it was also revealed this week, can be used to drive a Porsche).

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