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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 watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged that Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.