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Thursday, 3 June 2021

Meet Sam: Samsung's new virtual assistant leaks online indicating the tech giant may be moving away from Bixby to a Pixar-like character

  • Samsung's new virtual assistant is depicted in Pixar-like artwork leaked online
  • 'Sam' looks like a Samsung employee with her branded attire and Galaxy phone 
  • She could power Samsung's Galaxy powered smartphones and smart speakers
  • The firm is allegedly working on Sam to replace its current digital assistant BixbySamsung's new virtual assistant is called Sam and looks like a Pixar character, new promo images reveal. 

    Brazil-based animation studios Lightfarm shared its renders of Sam online at the weekend before hastily taking them down. 

    Sam will likely power Samsung's Galaxy powered smartphones and smart 'things' like home appliances, as a replacement for Bixby, which Samsung revealed in 2017. 

    Sam could also power Samsung's first commercially available smart speaker, which has been frustratingly delayed since it was first revealed in 2018.  

    Digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri are disembodied voices that address users through devices like phones and speakers.

    From these new leaked promo images, it seems Samsung is trying to pique interest by personalising the character with some creative 3D artistry, which could help it appeal to younger smartphone users. 

    Sam appears as a young woman with shoulder-length brown hair and Samsung-branded clothing, kitted out with a smart watch and Samsung Galaxy phone. 

    With her branded but simple attire and a Samsung Galaxy smartphone in hand, Sam looks like a Samsung employee

    With her branded but simple attire and a Samsung Galaxy smartphone in hand, Sam looks like a Samsung employee

    Lightfarm's dedicated link to the project redirects to its homepage, but a gallery of the promo images is still available to view on file sharing site catbox.moe.  

    Lightfarm worked with the Cheil Agency, a marketing company owned by Samsung, on the images, according to a now-deleted post, captured on Wayback Machine.

    'Throughout the process, the team devoted itself to developing realistic materials, mainly for the character's hair and clothing, so that Sam appeared aesthetically pleasing,' said Lightfarm. 

    'Sam was an incredible partnership between the Cheil Agency and Lightfarm, and we are thrilled to be part of this project!' 

    Digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri are disembodied voices that address users through devices like phones and speakers. From these new leaked promo images, it seems Samsung is trying to pique interest by personalising the character

    Digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri are disembodied voices that address users through devices like phones and speakers. From these new leaked promo images, it seems Samsung is trying to pique interest by personalising the characterThe images, which have been shared on Twitter, appeared to have split opinion – one user, @FlamingoASL, said 'Why is she a Disney princess???', to which @BearUNLV replied 'Closer to a Pixar'. 

    @BearUNLV, who posted the images to his Twitter, also said 'Bixby is done', in reference to Samsung's current smart assistant, which has apparently struggled to compete with other tech giants' offerings.     

    Another Twitter user, @aloeaceae, posted one of the images with the words 'All bow to my goddess Sam the Samsung’s virtual assistant'. 

    MailOnline has contacted Samsung for comment. The company is yet to make any official announcement about a new smart assistant.    

    Sam is set to be a competitor for Google Assistant, which is the dominant smart assistant installed on Android phones.

    Android – which is owned and operated by Google – is the operating system that powers Samsung phones, among others. 

    Seemingly a fan, @aloeaceae, posted one of the images with the words 'All bow to my goddess Sam the Samsung’s virtual assistant'

    Seemingly a fan, @aloeaceae, posted one of the images with the words 'All bow to my goddess Sam the Samsung’s virtual assistant'

    A gallery of the promo images, showing Sam in a range of poses, is still available to view on file sharing site catbox.moe

    A gallery of the promo images, showing Sam in a range of poses, is still available to view on file sharing site catbox.moe

    Therefore, Sam will have to offer some very special capabilities to draw Android users away from Google Assistant. 

    Samsung is a giant in smartphones and tablets, but its venture into smart speakers had made a stuttering start.

    Samsung revealed what was originally planned to be its entry into the smart speaker market back in August 2018, but the ‘Galaxy Home’ was never commercially released.

    The original design for Samsung's first smart speaker resembled more of a cauldron or a rocket ship, and was mercilessly mocked on social media.  

    Samsung original design for the Galaxy Home was mocked for its weird, cauldron-shaped design with tripod legs

    Samsung original design for the Galaxy Home was mocked for its weird, cauldron-shaped design with tripod legs 

    The Galaxy Home Mini (above) had a slightly less adventurous design than the Galaxy Home - but neither were made available to buy

    The Galaxy Home Mini (above) had a slightly less adventurous design than the Galaxy Home - but neither were made available to buy

    Undeterred, Samsung revealed a scaled down redesign, called the Galaxy Home Mini, in autumn 2019. 

    In February 2020, Samsung seemed to prematurely announce availability of Galaxy Home Mini in its home market of South Korea in a press release.

    The release – which revealed a price tag of $83 (about £64) – was strangely taken down just hours later, giving the impression it was posted to Samsung's site by accident.  

    As of today, neither the Galaxy Home or Galaxy Home Mini are available to buy and Samsung has been quiet on their current release status.         

    Samsung launches new flagship Galaxy S21 range with three models costing up to £1,149 

    In January 2021, Samsung unveiled its latest range of flagship smartphones, with three models ranging in price from £769 ($799) to £1,149 ($1,199). 

    The S21 range from the South Korean tech giant features an entry-level model, the mid-range Plus, and the Ultra – which is the first S Series phone to be compatible with the Samsung's S-Pen stylus.

    The stand-out feature on all three devices is the upgraded rear camera system, which was heavily leaked ahead of today's announcemPatrick Chomet, executive vice-president and head of Samsung's customer experience office, said: 'Galaxy S21 series is built for those who want premium mobile innovations to capture and share their world.    

    Screen size varies depending on the model, increasing from 6.1 inches on the entry-level device up to 6.7 inches on the Plus and 6.8 inches for the Ultra. 

    Read more: Samsung launches new flagship Galaxy S21 range   

  • ent and features night and portrait mode as well as its 100x 'space zoom'.    

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