Samsung MWC 2018 Liveblog

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Mobile World Congress isn’t always a huge show for Samsung (last year we got a couple of tablets and some vague 5G news), but this year the company’s not messing around. Between the many teasers and seemingly endless deluge of leaks, the Galaxy S9 is all but announced at this point.

Even so, once of the nice things about the company is that it always seems to have a little something extra up its sleeve, and we’re sure to see a surprise or two at today’s press conference. Besides, it’s still Sunday morning in the U.S., so it’s not like you’ve got anywhere more exciting to be than in front of your computer, watching it all unfold live from Barcelona.

We’ll see you right here at 9AM PT/Noon ET.


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:05 am

All right, thanks for reading. And apologies for everyone who works for Samsung and has to dance. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 201810:05 am

Yep, it’s a good-looking phone. Anybody who’s into Android and Google services should definitely consider the S9.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 201810:05 am


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:04 am

@Romain, get up there and show them your moves. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:04 am

Not exactly a huge upgrade, but definitely some welcome features this time out. Did I mention that it’s cheaper than the iPhone X?


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 201810:04 am

I hope they are being paid well for this


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:04 am

So, to sum up: improved low light shooting, AR emojis, slightly thinner bezels and the fingerprint reader has been moved below the camera. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 201810:03 am

We’re now looking at an animated video while Samsung employees dancing toward the stage with Samsung Galaxy S9 in their hand.


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 201810:03 am

Samsung reps are in and dancing


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:03 am

One more demo video and we’re out of here. 


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 201810:03 am

This phone will make your life “easy, healthier and more fun”, says DJ


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:03 am

“Please, come and check it out.” And that’s all she wrote. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 201810:02 am

Samsung’s intelligence play is interesting. On the software front, Samsung has lost the mobile operating system war and is now relying exclusively on Android for its smartphones. But Samsung can differentiate its phones from all the other Android phones out there with smart features.


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:02 am

Even so, that’s significantly less expensive than the iPhone X. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:02 am

The standard S9 will run $720. The S9+ is going to be $840 — a $120 price bump. 


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 201810:01 am

S9: March 16th in retail. Pre-orders at Samsung.com and partner retail stores


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:01 am

The phone is launching on March 16. Preorder starts March 2. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:01 am

Has anyone mentioned the terrible Killers cover they keep playing over and over again? My Wifi was broken before. 


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 201810:01 am

DJ Koh is back without his jacket this time. It is pretty warm in here now


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 201810:01 am


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:00 am

We also just got a little hint at the future of Bixby openness — something the company has been promising since it acquired Viiv way back when. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 201810:00 am

“We’ll be sharing much bigger news about Bixby this year. So please stay tuned.” The screen said “Bixby 2.0”.


Brian Heater
February 25, 201810:00 am

And, of course, Bixby. Samsung’s personal assistant got off to a bit of a rough start, but there are some key improvements here, including real time translation. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 201810:00 am

Samsung breaks down a phone into hardware, security, operating system, basic applications and services. And now, Samsung is adding one more layer — intelligence.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:59 am

The biggest differentiator here is the fact that you lay the phone flat in the dock, so it can also be used as either a trackpad or keyboard. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:59 am

Now it’s time to talk about DeX, the desktop dock the company introduced with the S8. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:58 am

Security is still a key part of this phone, and there are some cool new tricks on that front, including Intelligent Scan, which defaults to either iris or face scanning, based on available light and the ability to tie different security features to different fingerprints. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:57 am

That was a big part of the reason the company pushed the device out at MWC, so it it wasn’t behind the Snapdragon curve. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:57 am

Eui Suk Chung is also talking about software and services, such as Samsung Pay, Samsung Health and Bixby. It’s clear that Samsung wants to think beyond the phone in your pocket.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:57 am

That said, this device will be sporting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 in much of the world, including the US. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:56 am

That has other advantages as well. If, say, the company has an off year due to exploding phones, it really doesn’t fundamentally impact its bottomline. Samsung is a component company, first and foremost. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:55 am

Of course, Samsung’s got a big advantage over much of the competition, given the fact that it also develops much of the silicone inside the phone (not to mention the fact that it also gets a cut on every iPhone X sold. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:54 am

We’re going to talk about futuristic stuff now, VR, AR, AI, ML and all sorts of two-letter acronyms.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:54 am


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:53 am

Eui Suk Chung, EVP and Head of Software & AI is now on stage.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:53 am

And now it’s time to start talking software, services and security. 


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:53 am

Samsung just showed a multitasking feature which lets you pull down a notification, respond to it via an overlay and then dismiss it — to reduce app switching


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:52 am

“The S9 is our vision for the future of mobile phones.” 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:52 am

Samsung is ticking all the right boxes here. This is a flagship device and Samsung wants to mention all the features you’d expect from a flagship device in 2018.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:52 am

The home screen works in portrait or landscape and supports fast wireless charging.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:51 am


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:50 am


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:50 am

Samsung also made sure to mention “the convenience headphone socket at the bottom of the device”. I’m wondering who they’re referring to.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:50 am

The S9 works with Dolby Atmos too.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:49 am

The S9 features stereo speakers, and they’re the loudest ever in a galaxy phone. Samsung just played a loud plane sound through the conference hall speakers to prove their point. (I’m now deaf.)


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:48 am

“With the S9 and S9+, we’ve created an unparalleled viewing experience.” It’s an 18.5:9 display in two different sizes.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:47 am


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:47 am

Mark Notton, Director Product Portfolio is now on stage.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:46 am

Bixby, Samsung’s smart assistant, is coming to your camera. You can take a selfie and try virtual makeup. Your phone can then tell you what to buy. It’s like Snapchat filters, but for makeup.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:45 am

And if you’re into Samsung Health, you can take a photo of the food you’re eating. Your phone can recognize the food and count the calories in the Samsung Health app.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:45 am


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:45 am

The feature is powered by Google Translate. You don’t have to take any photo and it’s built into the phone.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:44 am

Let’s move on from AR Emojis. You can now open the camera app and point your camera at text written in a foreign language. It’s going to translate the text into a familiar language.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:43 am

Apple isn’t going to like this as the company loves to partner with Disney.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:43 am

But Samsung isn’t going to stop here. The company has partnered with Disney so that you can use Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and The Incredibles as AR Emojis.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:42 am


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:42 am

You can store multiple clothing styles and pick your character depending on your mood.


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:41 am

Samsung emphasizes AR Emojis can be shared with any other smartphone user, regardless of the device they have 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:40 am

Onece captured, you can change the hair, add clothes and glasses and the like. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:40 am

Jonathan Wong is back on stage to create his own AR Emoji. It looks like you’ll have to select your hair style, glasses and clothes as the S9 mostly scans your facial traits. I have to say it looks quite convincing.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:40 am


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:39 am

Hair joke got a lot of laughs. “I’m not completely bald”


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:39 am

It’s equal parts cool and creepy — probably a bit more of the latter, honestly. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:39 am

Samsung just combined Animojis with Bitmojis and I think it’s genius. Obviously Brian disagrees with me but I think it’s great.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:39 am

The big differentiator here is that the camera actually maps the user’s face to create a 3D avatar. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:39 am

Samsung just combined Animojis with Bitmojis and I think it’s genius. Obviously Brian disagrees with me but I think it’s great.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:38 am

This one was rumored for a while. Samsung’s bringing its own Animoji competitor to the phone. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:38 am

Alright, now it’s time to start talking Emojis! 


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:38 am

Onto emojis and AR


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:38 am

Erin Willis, Senior Manager Channel Marketing is now on stage.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:37 am


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:37 am


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:37 am

Like all of the company’s recent flagships, the new phones are both IP68 rated for water and dustproofing. 


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:36 am


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:36 am

Of course, that’ll cost you. There’s a $120 difference between the two phones. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:36 am

The S9+ has a wide angle and telephoto lens — one a handful of added features it will lord over the S9. 


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:36 am

“I can’t wait to see what you come up with”. Over to you, YouTube creators


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:36 am

The microSD slot attracted a ton of claps from the audience. It looks like this is the killer feature of the S9.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:35 am


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:35 am

The Dodo and Buzzfeed were given early access to the phone and have already been uploading that content. We’ve got a video waiting for you as well. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:34 am

Samsung just reinvented water


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:34 am

The camera also automatically overs up a version in reverse and two different loops. You can also set the slow motion video as the lock screen. 


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:34 am

The just demoed water being poured into a glass, slowly. “Have you ever seen water look that good?”


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:34 am

“Have you ever seen water look like this?”


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:34 am

Now a quick on stage demo, pouring a glass of water (woooo! parrrtttty!). The dramatic music makes it sound like a 70s cop show. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:33 am

Once captured, you can add music or share the video as a GIF. 


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:33 am

Cute cat video being deployed to demo super slow mo. Cuuuuuute!


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:33 am

“What’s better than a slo-mo cat video? That’s right, a super slo-mo cat video.”


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:32 am

That’s an important addition, since every second counts in slow motion. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:31 am

It’s a pretty impressive upgrade that also boasts an intelligent tracking feature, firing up slow motion capture as soon as it detects motion in the frame. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:31 am

I guess we’re now watching YouTube


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:30 am

Samsung asked the Slow Mo Guys to shoot some videos with the new phone — because, well, that’s what Slow Mo Guys do. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:30 am

The slow motion moves from 260 frames per second to 960, a pretty significant bump. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:29 am

The new Super Slow Motion feature meanwhile, appears to be the same tech we saw on last year’s Xperia flagship — of course, now it’s actually on a phone people will buy. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:29 am

Samsung just turned on all the lights in the room and then turned off all the lights to say that it takes a minute to adapt for the human eye. Samsung says the S9 can adapt instantly.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:29 am

The dual aperture is actually the same one you’ll find on the company’s recently released flip phone. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:28 am

“The camera itself can process four times image data as before.”


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:27 am

The F1.5 wide aperture for dark photos is the widest aperture in a smartphone.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:27 am

“The eye automatically adapts to different light situation.” He’s now describing aperture. And it turns out the S9 has a dual aperture camera. It can switch between two apertures.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:26 am

He’s calling the Samsung Galaxy S9 “the most groundbreaking camera yet.”


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:26 am

Jonathan Wong, Director of Product Marketing is now on stage. He traded the usual shirt and jacket for a white T-shirt and a bomber jacket.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:25 am

“What if your smartphone could adapt to your environment just like the human eye?”


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:24 am

“And while it starts with an amazing display, it also extends with one of the most essential tools in our lives — the camera.”


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:24 am

It seems like half of the audience is currently experiencing AR for the first time.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:23 am

If you’ve already used an AR app with a QR code, this is more or less the same thing.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:23 am

Denison is now asking everyone to take their badge and scan the badge with the Galaxy Unpacked app. It’s a fairly unimpressive augmented reality representation of the Galaxy S9. You can tilt it to see it from all angles.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:22 am

There are four colors: midnight black, grey, coral blue and lavender purple. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:21 am

“We’re also introducing intelligent scan.” It combines an iris scanner with face recognition to unlock your phone. Samsung has always provided a bunch of options to unlock your phone.


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:21 am

You can check off the first ‘no notch’ joke too


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:21 am

(Arguably, the LG G6 jumped the gun and was the first phone with a tall display and small bezels, a few weeks before Samsung announced the S8.)


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:20 am

Some fairly hesitant clapping. “Thank you, thank you”


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:20 am

“When we released the infinity display, most people had never seen something like this.” He’s saying it quickly set an industry standard.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:19 am

He’s calling smartphones “the most personal devices in our lives.” He’s now talking about the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 “infinite display”, saying that the S9 is building upon this foundation.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:18 am

He’s probably going to list all the features of the device.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:18 am

Justin Denison, SVP of Product Marketing is now taking the stage.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:17 am

DJ Koh is now showing the two new devices on stage.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:17 am

That was one of the chief hardware complaints of the last generation: accidental fingerprints on the camera. What’s the point of a fancy new one if it’s covered in finger grease?


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:16 am

A few key aesthetic changes here: the bezels on the top and bottom of the Infinity Display are a bit smaller than last time around. Also, the fingerprint sensor has been moved to a better spot beneath the camera. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:16 am

This video is a 3D rendering of the new device from all angles. It’s floating in 3D on a dark background with some shiny reflections.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:16 am

As already leaked, the S9 doesn’t look too dissimilar from its predecessor. 


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:15 am

Music is very Bladerunner


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:15 am

We’re cutting to a video.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:15 am

And there we go, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are officially official. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:15 am

“I’m thrilled to unveil the first smartphone built for the way you view your world today.”


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:14 am

DJ just used the word “breakthrough” — a “breakthrough camera”… so sounding very Applish there


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:14 am

(We’d love to bring you photos of the event, too, but the WiFi is too slow to upload them right now.)


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:14 am

Improved low-light settings are probably the biggest addition to the camera this time out — that’s been the death knell of many a device before this. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:14 am

This little speech is getting a bit long. While it’s always interesting to hear the philosophy behind a device, there’s nothing groundbreaking here.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:13 am

“Clearly the social media generation has transformed the way people communicate.”


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:13 am

Of course, the company’s been hyping imaging for months now. There are “The Camera Reinvented” signs up all over Barcelona this week. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:13 am

He’s saying the phone is all about capturing fleeting moments and sharing them.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:12 am

“Of all of the changes we’ve seen, nothing is more important than how images have replace words and how videos have become the new conversations.”


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:11 am

So the theory being espoused by DJ is that we need machine learning/AI to help simplify the complexity of technology [thinking emoji face]


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:11 am

Samsung thinks the smartphone is going to become the main remote for your connected home and the central hub for your health metrics.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:10 am

The rabbit is out of the hat everyone, there’s (gasp) a new phone.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:10 am

“Today we are unveiling a new Galaxy smartphone with powerful software and services.”


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:10 am

“Technology is still too complicated. There are too many steps, too many features don’t get used.”


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:09 am

“At Samsung we are inspired by the questions you ask”


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:08 am

Those old phones from 2005 look so dated now. While it was just 13 years ago, everything before the smartphone era looks prehistoric.


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:08 am

We’re getting some deep background here now, going through the company’s phone history, dating back to the late 90s. 


Brian Heater
February 25, 20189:07 am

DJ is giving some background context into the company’s Olympics play now. Samsung’s been interested in the games for years now, and of course, this time it happened in its backyard. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:07 am

“We may deliver new capabilities and add new features.” But he’s saying these technologies only make sense when they’re in people’s hands. I guess this is Samsung’s answer for the tech backlash.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20189:06 am


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:06 am

He’s talking about the Internet of Things with a nice picture of a gigantic house with a swimming pool. You can see a bunch of Samsung appliances, from the fridge to the Roomba-like vacuum cleaner.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:05 am

DJ Koh is now on stage, the man in charge of the mobile division at Samsung.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:04 am

It’s an uplifting video with a baby learning to walk, kids snowboarding down a desert hill, etc.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:04 am

We’re now looking at a video with kids playing soccer, learning how to read the word “can’t”. Some teenagers are using a Samsung phone to live stream a video.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:03 am

“So you can do what can’t be done.”


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20189:03 am

“Do what you can’t” kicks off the sloganizing


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:02 am

The show is starting with a very loud video. “Do what you can’t,” it says. “We’re engineers, inventors, problem solvers.”


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20189:02 am


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20188:57 am

I expect Mark Zuckerberg will walk in while everybody is looking at some AR demo tonight.


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20188:56 am

Hall is set up in the round which makes a nice change though


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20188:56 am


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20188:55 am

Wi-fi is of course horrendously slow


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20188:54 am

Samsung has been talking about new camera capabilities for this new device. This is probably going to be the big story of the conference. What can you see through your smartphone camera?


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20188:54 am

And (surprise!) it looks just like the Galaxy S8 from last year, with some minor differences. The fingerprint reader is located in a better spot for instance.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20188:53 am

Everybody is expecting a new phone: the Galaxy S9. The company’s promotional video leaked yesterday, so we already had a good look at the S9.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20188:52 am

We’re now 10 minutes away from the press conference. So let’s quickly talk about the rumors we’ve been hearing for the past few weeks.


Frederic Lardinois
February 25, 20188:51 am

It’s a boxing ring where the WiFi barely works, though. 


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20188:51 am


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20188:50 am

“Experience the magic of augmented reality during the launch”


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20188:48 am

Just like a couple of years ago, Samsung chose to put the stage in the center of the room. It feels like we’re all sitting around a boxing ring.


Natasha Lomas
February 25, 20188:48 am

Samsung is encouraging attendees to download its Unpacked app to see AR elements during the presentation. Current download time for an essential update to this app: 12mins :#  


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20188:45 am

And we’re now in the venue! This year, Samsung is bringing its conference back to the beautiful Fira Montjuic venue.


Romain Dillet
February 25, 20188:27 am

Hello from sunny Barcelona! The line is moving quickly. We should be seated and ready to blog pretty soon!

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