While unveiling its newest flagship smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday, Samsung also took a few digs at its competitor Apple and that company's latest device, the iPhone X.

Where Apple reinvented emojis with the iPhone X's Animoji, Samsung has developed VR Emoji, which lets users create cartoon-like, augmented reality-powered stickers and videos based on their own selfies. And while Apple eliminated the headphone jack with the iPhone 7 in favor of its own Lightning connector and wireless AirPod ear buds, Samsung said its new Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus were designed to give customers features they actually wanted.

"We deliver the innovations they want -- like an immersive screen, extended battery life, a spectrum of unlocking options, and devices with expandable storage and a headphone jack," Samsung said in yesterday's announcement at MWC18 about its new phones. "Instead of forcing people to adapt to their technology, we give our users the flexibility to choose how to incorporate technology into their lives."

'Reimagined' Camera for Visual Communication

Samsung officially took the wraps off its Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus during an on-stage "Unpacked" event at the Mobile World Congress, which runs today through March 1. DJ Koh, president of the company's mobile communications division, introduced the S9 family as "the first smartphone built for the way you use your phone today, and the only smartphone with the power to help you reimagine how you'll experience the world tomorrow."

Featuring a "reimagined," dual aperture camera, the S9 and S9 Plus enable better imaging for high-speed and low-light photography, slow-motion imaging, and after-the-fact refinements made possible through artificial intelligence, Samsung said.

All those capabilities are aimed at a population of smartphone users that is increasingly communicating visually rather than via voice or text, according to Tim Baxter, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics North America.

"Most of our communication occurs in photos, in images," Baxter said in a Samsung video about the new phones. "The S9 is designed specifically to take advantage of that."

Beyond their photo- and video-taking capabilities, the S9 and S9 Plus cameras will also let users use images -- coupled with Samsung's artificial intelligence Bixby -- to search online for products they see in real life, translate foreign languages on the fly, estimate the calories in foods, and virtually try on makeup.

Hitting the Market March 16

The new S9 devices will also be Samsung's first Galaxy smartphones to come with stereo speakers. In addition, they each feature a Quad HD super AMOLED display, a near-bezel-free Infinity Display, water resistance, an iris sensor for biometric security, and wired and wireless fast charging.

The 5.8-inch, 64GB Galaxy S9 will come with 4 GB of RAM and a 3000mAh battery, while the 6.2-inch, 64 GB Galaxy S9 Plus provides 64 GB of RAM and a 3500mAh battery. Both are powered by Android Oreo 8.0, and both phones will be available in four colors: lilac purple, midnight black, titanium gray, and coral blue.

Available for customers in the U.S. via reservation today, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are set to arrive March 16. The S9 is priced starting at $719.99, while the S9 Plus will go for $839.99 and up.