Samsung Pay Is Here, Supports Magnetic Card Readers

What Happened
Yesterday Samsung unveiled its newest phablet offers – the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+, both of which will come with Samsung’s answer to Apple Pay built in. Similar to its competitors, Samsung Pay allows users to pay at stores with major credit cards by simply tapping their phones at a NFC-enabled card reader and authenticating their identity with a fingerprint scan.

More importantly, however, Samsung Pay can also work with traditional magnetic credit card readers. In addition to the NFC support, it also broadcasts short-range wireless fields that mimic magnetic card swipes. Samsung has planned a beta program in August, and will be rolling it out to Note 5 and S6 Edge+ users in September or October.

What Brands Should Do
As the mobile payment space continues to evolve and diversify, a rapidly increasing number of smartphone users will be adopting it as more options become available. Businesses would be wise to start developing a holistic digital payment strategy to stay ahead of the adoption curve. In addition to its aforementioned compatibility with the vast majority of payment terminals,  Samsung Pay will also support some store credit cards, which means retailers can easily incorporate their rewards and loyalty program into point of sale system.


Source: Re/Code

Samsung Gear VR Jumps Into Consumer Market

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Right on the heels of Oculus VR’s big announcement for a consumer-facing release last Wednesday, Samsung made its Gear VR Innovator Edition for Galaxy S6 available for sale for just $200. It is worth noting that this Innovation Edition is not a standalone consumer-ready headset, as it requires a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge in order to work. Samsung has yet to announce the specific launch date for its official Gear VR; nevertheless, this move shows the Korean company’s determination to acquire the early adaptors in the VR market.

We here at the Lab are always looking out for new developments in the VR space, and currently we have two VR headsets—an Oculus Rift and a Samsung Gear VR—ready for demo in the Lab. Virtual reality is something that has to be experienced to be understood. So come by the Lab and get a VR demo to see just how engaging it can be, and understand why consumers would be excited by this technology.

Why T-Mobile Is Giving Out Free Netflix

Read original story on: AdAge

US pre-orders for the new Samsung Galaxy S6 won’t start till tomorrow, but T-Mobile is already trying to sway consumers: CEO John Legere tweeted yesterday that consumers who buy the new Samsung smartphones from T-Mobile will get a free year-long subscription to Netflix. Clearly, encouraging customers to binge-watch is good for T-Mobile’s business, as video eats up far more data than music streaming or web browsing.

Header image taken from @JohnLegere Twitter

How Samsung Plans To Compete Against Apple In Mobile Payment

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Look out, Apple Pay! Samsung is entering mobile payment with its acquisition of payment startup of LoopPay. Samsung has stated it will work toward building LoopPay’s technology into future devices, and stressed that a “holistic mobile wallet” based LoopPay’s unique magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology would enjoy wider converge than most mobile payment systems that employ NFC tech, including Apple Pay.

Regardless of Samsung’s self-proclaimed superiority, Apple Pay has already got a great head start, recently entering new territories like vending machines, in-flight purchases, and government agencies. Samsung has a lot catching-up to do if it is serious about competing with the Cupertino rival in mobile payment.

IBM Unveils The Blockchain Of Everything

IBM has released a proof of concept for blockchain-powered Internet of Things devices called ADEPT, short for Autonomous Decentralized Peer-To-Peer Telemetry. The system design is fully distributed, secure, and open source. Primarily based on the blockchain, which is the protocol that underpins BitCoin and the other cryptocurrencies, ADEPT also incorporates Ethereum for smart contracts, TeleHash for fast, secure, peer-to-peer messaging, and BitTorrent for file sharing. The company is teaming up with Samsung, which will presumably help test and implement the system into their products.

“Imagine a world where a smart washer is able to detect a component failing, can check from the blockchain if the component is in warranty, place a service order with a contracted service provider, and the service provider can independently verify the warranty claim – again from the blockchain – and all this, autonomously.”

The distributed design allows IoT devices, which might have a useful life of ten years or more, to avoid using a cloud service with ongoing financial costs that would likely require selling user data to be sustainable. It also eliminates single points of failure—for example, a hacker would not be able to compromise a manufacturer’s update server to instruct every device to transfer cryptocurrency maliciously because there is no central server, and quarantining bad actors is built in.

CES 2015: Samsung Unveils Its Holistic Plan For Smart TVs

Samsung just wrapped up its press event at CES and it reveal its holistic approach towards the Smart UHD TVs. Here are the three highlights of their plan.

Milk VR – The South Korean tech giant repurposed its not-so-known music streaming service Milk and expanded it into an online distribution service virtual reality videos. First of its kind, this service signals Samsung’s vast ambition when it comes virtual reality. Additionally, it will also distribute video and audio content for its new smart TVs.

SUHD TV – Samsung claims that its stunning new SUHD TV line-up can produce up to 64 times more color than conventional TVs, despite the range still being 4K. They’ve also set up the UHD alliance with major Hollywood studios, consumer electronics brands and companies alike to help set the standards for Ultra High Definition (UHD) content and devices.

Tizen OS – To bring the service (Milk VR) with the hardware (SUHD TVs) together, Samsung’s long awaited Tizen OS, designated for its smart TVs, was confirmed to come with the new TV line-up. Moreover, the company also mentioned Tizen’s integration with PlayStation Now, allowing users to stream PlayStation games without a console.

Samsung To Release A Bendable Phone (On Purpose)

Read original story on: Business Insider 

In their continuous quest to upstage Apple, Samsung has unveiled its answer to the infamous iPhone 6  “bendgate” with an actual bendable smartphone. After reportedly working on bendable screens for smartphones over the past few years, the company is now promising that display technology will arrive in real products starting next year. How this design brings anything practical to devices besides flexibility is still unclear.

Samsung Launches New Wearable, 360-Degree VR Camera, And More

Read original story on: CNET

After announcing their own beacon platform earlier this week, Samsung continued to launch shiny new products at its second annual developer conference this Wednesday. From digital health to smart home, and from virtual reality to wearables, every area that Samsung has been dabbling in resulted in a new development:

  • Simband: First introduced in May, the updated tracker is loaded with numerous sensors that gather users’ biometric data, including blood flow, EKG levels and skin temperature, which will all be stored on SAMI, the company’s newly-introduced open and cloud-based database.
  • Project Beyond: This 3D-capturing 360-degree camera is designed to capture videos and stream them on the Gear VR. The company is also setting a Gear VR “Innovator Edition” for an early December launch.
  • SmartThings: Every new connected Samsung device will now be incorporated into the company’s smart home platform, which is now opening up to developers with a beta SDK. In addition, Samsung introduced software development kits for various sectors, including the Samsung Digital Health SDK, a Gear S SDK, and an S Pen SDK.

It’s clear that Samsung is doing all it can to support and motivate developers to build up an ecosystem that is rich and diverse so as to compete with Apple, but only time will tell if all these efforts pay off.



Why Samsung’s New Placedge Beacon Is A Big Deal

Read original story on: BEEKn

Samsung is launching its own beacon! The company has unveiled the Samsung Placedge Platform, which functions as a beacon-detecting uber-application that sits at the device layer, with no specific app required. A SDK has also been released to enable developers to create their own apps, allowing for more customized experiences.

This move by Samsung helps to reinforce that beacons aren’t an Apple-only thing. It also highlights the competition for access to consumer engagement happening in the hyperlocal space.

Four Tech Trends Spotted At Samsung’s IFA Event

Earlier today at the IFA trade show in Berlin, Samsung announced four new products coming this fall. Besides Galaxy Note 4, the expected update of its popular “phablet” series, the South Korean tech giant also unveiled Galaxy Note Edge, the new Gear S smartwatch, and the Gear VR, a virtual reality headset. Throughout the event, four major industry trends stood out with each of Samsung’s new offerings:

The screens are getting bigger

With Apple rumored to introduce iPhones with bigger screens next week, it came as no surprise that Samsung doubled down its “phablet” offering with Note 4 and Note Edge, along with a smartwatch that features a 2-inch screen. But the screens aren’t just getting bigger; they are also getting curvy. The futuristic Galaxy Note Edge features a display that curves around one side of the phone and a special OS that makes good use of the warped screen. Plus, the new Gear S also has a curved screen that fits on your wrist naturally

The smartwatch is coming into its own

Having released five smartwatches since the initial introduction of its Samsung Gear last year, Samsung stepped up its wearable game by introducing a vastly improved Gear S. Thanks to its nano-SIM card support, the Gear S can make calls, receive emails and texts, and generally operate semi-independently. It does not completely operate as a standalone, but it does point to a future where smartwatches might become less of an accessory and more of an independently functional device.

Tech continues to collaborate with fashion brands

The trend of consumer tech teaming up with fashion brands continues as Samsung collaborates with Swarovski to offer crystal-studded phone cases for Note 4 and similarly bedazzled straps for Gear S. The collaboration follows a successful partnership between the two brands at the recent NY Fashion Week. This trend will most certainly continue, as such integration helps normalizing the otherwise “geeky” new tech products in a way that is mutually beneficial for both industries.

Virtual reality is on the rise

Samsung is pushing in on the virtual reality trend with a headset. Built in partnership with Oculus, the Samsung Gear VR allows users to wirelessly mount the new Galaxy Note 4 in front of their eyes and use the device for gaming and watching movies. Samsung is also teaming up with major media companies to produce entertainment content specifically made for immersive virtual reality experiences.