Mobile World Congress was all about cameras

An advanced smartphone camera featuring artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) technologies is something new at the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

Last year, Apple introduced a three-dimensional (3D), animated emoji to its smartphone camera and Huawei also began to use an AI-powered camera to automatically recognize objects

At this year’s mobile tech show, the trend is gaining more traction as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics followed suit, unveiling their new smartphones with improved cameras.

The headline feature of Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S9 was a camera focusing on “visual communications.”

“Of all the changes we’ve seen nothing is more important than how images are replacing words and how visuals have become the new language for self-expression,” said Koh Dong-jin, Samsung’s mobile business chief, during an “unpacked” event, Sunday.

The S9 camera enables users to process their photos into a 3D cartoon avatar that can be shared across most third-party messaging platforms.

Samsung’s AI platform Bixby has also been integrated into the AR camera, and deep learning technologies provide helpful information about a user’s surroundings. Users can translate foreign languages and currency in real time with Live Translation, learn about their surroundings, purchase products seen in the real world, and track calories throughout the day.

The S9 is also capable of shooting super slow motion videos, capturing 960 frames per second (fps), and a dual-camera setup is available in the S9 Plus model.

“Emojis, selfies and GIF, not text, are conveying what people want to say. As visuals are becoming a new communication tool, smartphone makers are focusing on improving camera capabilities,” said an official of the electronics industry.

Instead of launching the G7, LG also brought the V30S ThinQ with an AI-powered camera feature.

Its AI CAM analyzes subjects in the frame and recommends the optimal shooting mode among eight categories: portrait, food, pet, landscape, city, flower, sunrise and sunset.

In addition, if users scan QR codes with the Q-Lens, the smartphone offers information as to where to buy the product online at the lowest price as well as recommendations for similar items.

“Camera-related AI technologies were showcased by LG and Huawei at the MWC and AI will be more and more inseparable from smartphone cameras,” said an official in the mobile industry.

Global phone makers are also keen on manufacturing camera-enhanced devices.

Sony, which first introduced the super slow motion feature in February 2017, unveiled two flagship phones _ the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact _ at the MWC.

The Japanese firm has returned with the feature that can record 960fps footage at a higher 1080p resolution, compared with 720p from the previous model.

In addition, it has added a 3D Creator application to the new phones, enabling users to create 3D scans of objects.

Huawei, which launched the world’s first automatic object-recognition AI capabilities on May 10 last year, has postponed raising the curtain on its new flagship phone until next month.

However, it is expected to be equipped with a triple-camera setup _ which would be the world’s first.

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