Despite the global recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 over battery explosion fears, Samsung Electronics on Friday released a positive forecast for the third quarter of this year, expecting operating profits of 7.8 trillion Korean won (approx $7 billion) and revenues of 49 trillion Korean won. Meanwhile, the Korean company has acquired an AI start-up called Viv Labs.
The operating profits are a 5.6 per cent increase on the same period a year ago when the company registered 7.4 trillion won in operating profits, Samsung Electronics said in its earnings guidance for the third quarter.
“The profits are higher than what South Korean analysts predicted who lowered figures following the global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 due to battery explosions,” technology website zdnet.com reported.
The cheering news came at a time when the south Korean giant is facing global flak over its flagship device Note 7 which is yet to come to India. Analysts expected Samsung to lose over $1 billion in profits from Samsung’s third quarter.
A replacement Note 7 device reportedly caught fire on a US flight this week, leading to cancellation of the flight after evacuation. Southwest Airlines flight 994 from Louisville to Baltimore was evacuated during the boarding process after a smoked Note 7 was spotted.
Samsung later issued a statement: “Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.”
India’s civil aviation regulator last week lifted the restrictions on in-flight use of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone — but only those purchased after September 15.
On September 9, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had prohibited the use of the high-end smartphone on-board aircraft.
The DGCA said the usage restrictions have only been lifted for Note 7 purchased after September 15. Restrictions still continue for Note 7s purchased before that date.
“It is important to note that Samsung has not sold a single unit of Galaxy Note7 in India so far. The ‘green battery icon’ will apply to all Galaxy Note7 units that will be sold to customers in India when it is launched,” said a Samsung India spokesperson.
Samsung Acquires AI
Coming to the recent acquisition of Samsung, the Viv Labs was founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham who were part of the original virtual assistant Siri team that Apple bought in 2010.
Viv has developed a unique, open AI platform that gives third-party developers the power to use and build conversational assistants and integrate a natural language-based interface into renowned applications and services, Samsung said in a statement on friday.
“Unlike other existing AI-based services, Viv has a sophisticated natural language understanding, machine learning capabilities and strategic partnerships that will enrich a broader service ecosystem,” said Injong Rhee, Chief Technical Officer of the Mobile Communications business at Samsung Electronics.
“Viv was built with both consumers and developers in mind. This dual focus is also what attracted us to Viv as an ideal candidate to integrate with Samsung home appliances, wearables and more,” Rhee added.
With Viv, Samsung will be able to unlock and offer new service experiences for its customers, including one that simplifies user interfaces, understands the context of the user and offers the user the most appropriate and convenient suggestions and recommendations.
As part of the acquisition, the Viv founding team will work closely with Samsung’s Mobile Communications business but continue to operate independently under its existing leadership.
With the rise of AI, consumers now desire an interaction with technology that is conversational, personalised and contextual.
To achieve this, Viv has developed a new and proprietary platform that allows this interaction to scale.
“At Viv, we’re building the simplest way for anyone to talk to devices and services everywhere. Samsung offers us a unique opportunity to deliver a single conversational interface to the world’s apps and services across a diverse range of products, at global scale,” said Viv co-founder and CEO Kittlaus.
The financial details were yet to be disclosed.