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Phones

As Galaxy S9 looms, Samsung ad shows how little details matter

Commentary: In a new ad, Samsung offers a heartening look at how hard its robots are working to help make its phones.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


In Samsung's ad, the robots are desperate to please.

Samsung/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Can humans and robots happily co-exist?

Ultimately, I suspect not. The robots will be too clever, humans will be too insulted and the robots will rid themselves of our whiny beings.

Until then, though, Samsung would like you to know that its robots are working very hard to make your next phone, which might just be called the Galaxy S9.

In an ad released this week, the Korean company shows a pristine manufacturing plant, where boxy robots shuttle from desk to desk, in a sort of helpful assistant role.

They're keen to do good, these robots. They water plants. They suck up to human workers. They even help those workers not fall over, by sliding their chairs closer to their bottoms.

Not every robot, though, does a perfect job. Some might even weep on seeing a robot have the phone it's carrying suffer rejection from, gasp, a human.

The dejection expressed by the robot is depressingly real.

Then another robot brings a phone to its human master. He's impressed, and very much so. The robot jiggles with elation, possibly thinking, deep inside, that one day soon the roles will be reversed.

The phones shown here aren't named but appear to be the Galaxy Note 8. The broader message, though, clearly is about Samsung's deep affection for quality control and its enduring attention to detail, which, you may recall, went a little awry with the Note 7.

(For a closer and real-world look at how Samsung prepares and tests its phones, see the reporting that CNET's Shara Tibken did from the company's factory floors in South Korea.)

The more subliminal point, no doubt, is that Samsung would like you to think kindly of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, which are due to be unveiled Feb. 25 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Why, I hear some of those phones might even come in a very fetching shade of purple.

And if you're happy with what you see, then the robots will be happy, too. And that has to count for something.

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