Sometimes Samsung innovates and sometimes, well, it ‘thinks’ it does. The company’s AR Emoji feature officially went live with its new set of Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones, and the comparisons with Apple’s Animoji were inevitable. The feature in the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ builds on the iPhone X feature, and allows you to transform your selfie into an animated character or emoji of your choice.
However, Head of Samsung’s mobile business DJ Koh insists that the AR Emoji feature is not at all inspired by Apple’s work and in fact, the company had been working on it for years. That’s right; for years. But we, as users, and also publishers, find it difficult to believe Koh because, which company goes live first with a feature is what is usually perceived as the innovator.
“Their approach and my approach is totally different,” Koh is quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal. “I do work seriously based off my own roadmap,” he adds. According to BGR.com, Koh said in an interview that he had personally explored 3D animations since 2001 on flip phones, and the human emoji feature took years of development.
Whether or not Samsung accepts it is indeed the ‘second’ in the race and not the first, the history won’t change and Apple will remain the innovator in this case. However, it is worth mentioning that while both the features leverage facial recognition technique, there are subtle differences between AR Emoji and Animoji.
Apple uses 3D facial recognition to recreate Animoji whereas the Samsung AR Emoji uses the front-facing camera to create custom animated emoji. The underlying technology for Animoji is much more advanced when compared to AR Emoji, which only relies on the front camera.
As Android Authority explains, Animoji allows you to map your facial movements onto one of the existing emojis, be it a bunny, pile of poo, unicorn, and so on. The feature is also restricted to Apple’s iMessage, and works if you record a 10-second video which can then be shared natively. It can be turned into a GIF as well if you want to share it on other social networks.
The AR Emoji feature, on the other hand, uses some clever software tricks to map your face onto emoji. You can record a video using this custom emoji. One of the major differences here is that AR Emoji allows you to create your own emoji, which basically means more freedom beyond the usual set of emoji available in your Android keyboard. You can further choose the skin tone, cartoon-touch, pick an outfit, and so on. You can consider these as animated avatars. Once you create an AR Emoji, you can save it as a preset and use it as a video or a GIF, and share it across social networks.