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Samsung is using a big event in Barcelona to introduce its latest pair of flagship phones, the Galaxy S9 and larger-screen S9+. The devices are similar in appearance to last year's S8 and S8+, but add a more powerful processor and an improved camera that packs a pair of fun features: AR Emoji and Super slo-mo. (This video shows the new camera and features in action.

Why it matters: Increasingly, Samsung and Apple are not only competing against each other, but also against the fact that people already have a pretty powerful smartphone in their pocket.

Here are some other key features:

  • U.S. models will be powered by Qualcomm's new top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845 processor.
  • The main rear camera has dual aperture for better low-light pictures, while the larger S9+ also packs a second rear camera for zooming in a bit.
  • The built-in Bixby assistant gains a couple new capabilities, including the ability to translate text the camera sees.

The details: In the U.S., pre-orders for the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will start March 2, with the devices available March 16. Exact pricing will vary a bit at U.S. phone carriers. Samsung is also selling an unlocked S9 for $719 and the S9+ for $839. Additionally, a trade-in program offers up to $350 off the device, while carriers will have their own promotions to lure new and existing customers.

Go deeper

DOJ announces sweeping probe into Minneapolis policing practices

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday announced that the Justice Department will open a sweeping investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department has a "pattern or practice" of discriminatory policing practices.

Why it matters: The federal probe, which will also examine MPD's handling of misconduct allegations, could result in significant changes to policing in Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

42 mins ago - World

South Korean president: Trump "beat around the bush and failed" on North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaking in Seoul in March 2021. Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyun/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

South Korean President Moon Jae-in criticized former President Trump's attempts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, telling the New York Times he "beat around the bush" with North Korea and "failed to pull it through."

Why it matters: Moon, now in his final year in office, called denuclearization a "matter of survival" for South Korea and urged President Biden to resume negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after a standstill of nearly two years.

56 mins ago - World

U.S.-Israel tensions build as Iran talks progress

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

As nuclear talks in Vienna enter a critical stage, the gaps and suspicions over Iran between the Israeli government and the Biden administration are growing.

Why it matters: Both sides want to avoid the kind of public fight that emerged during the negotiations over the 2015 deal. But in private, there's growing frustration on both sides about the lack of trust, coordination and transparency.