The AR Emoji feature on Samsung's new Galaxy S9 hasn't exactly arrived to universal acclaim, with early reviewers finding the animated emoji to be more creepy than cool. So as the S9 hits retail shelves today (March 16), Samsung is turning to a little Disney magic to spruce up its AR Emoji.
You can be forgiven for drawing comparisons with the Animoji feature in the iPhone, although, thus far, it's not been a comparison that flatters Samsung. While AR Emoji are easy enough to create, they don't look as polished or as natural as the animated animals, robots, aliens and — yes, we're about to type this — poops on offer through Apple's Animoji. One of the biggest complaints surrounding AR Emoji is that the avatars don't always resemble the people they're supposedly replicating, making for some GIFs you're more likely to cringe at than to share with others.
While the Disney partnership was likely in the works long before AR Emoji started getting a tepid reception from reviewers, its arrival certainly could address one of the key complaints about the Galaxy S9's big feature. While an animated avatar of yourself may not look enough like you, you're unlikely to feel the same when it's Mickey Mouse as your stand-in. If AR Emoji is viewed as Samsung's answer to Animoji, the arrival of truly animated characters could be seen as Samsung trying to beat Apple at its own game.
The S9 won't be the first high-profile tech device that Mickey and Minnie have landed on. You'll also find them on the Apple Watch, after Apple introduced watch faces featuring the iconic cartoon characters.