Asus yesterday at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain unveiled its latest ZenPhone 5 smartphone that proudly boasts a notch and… an Animoji clone, dubbed ZeniMoji.
Not unlike Samsung’s new AR Emoji feature on their newly introduced Galaxy S9 that creates a 3D character from scratch reflecting the user’s likeness while imitating their expressions such as winks and nods, the Asus version is not a carbon-copy Animoji clone either.
While ZeniMoji may not allow for true personalization, users can still animate cute 3D avatars using their own voice, facial expressions and head movements. What’s unique about ZeniMoji avatars is the fact that they can be used in video chats or live-streaming, in addition to chats.
Check out ZeniMoji in action in Asus’s video embedded below.
Apple’s Animoji system is currently limited to the Messages app although Animoji animations can be easily sent to other apps, shared on social media or saved to the user’s image library. On iPhone X, the Animoji feature provides a dozen characters ranging from animals to popular emojis such as a pile of poo, unicorn and others.
Our notch is smaller than yours. Take that, Apple!
The upcoming iOS 11.3 software update, due this spring, will bring an additional four Animoji characters: a dragon, lion, bear and skull. If a recent Bloomberg report is anything to go by, iOS 12 will include further Animoji enhancements.
The article states that Apple is working on new Animoji creatures for iOS 12 and other improvements, like Animoji support for future TrueDepth camera-enabled iPads, a more easily accessible menu in the Messages app and FaceTime support similar to Asus’s ZeniMoji.
What’s really interesting, at least to me, is how a feature that many customers and journalists initially dismissed as gimmicky is now becoming a new smartphone battleground—with Apple’s rivals certainly not wasting time unveiling their own Animoji clones.