So Samsung is finally showing some cards around mobile payments and it looks like they’ve developed a full-up wallet system rather than simply utilize an existing method. This certainly aligns with their desire to control more of the ecosystem and looks like a strong contender assuming they are able to deliver carrier partnerships as well to enable access across their installable base.
Samsung’s Wallet looks a lot like Apple’s Passbook and that’s a good thing. While it’s capable of incorporating NFC, the initial proximity solution will be based on scannable codes … just like Passbook. Again this is a good thing as merchants and brands will (hopefully) only need some slight modification (if any) to enable a second set of passes.
Currently, Wallet is only available as a preview for developers, who can download the SDK and API guides for it now, and the app itself will be available in the near future. Samsung says that it has lined up partnerships with Walgreens, Belly, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Lufthansa for the app’s launch, but it won’t be integrated any NFC payment features into Wallet, despite its new partnership with Visa’s PayWave service. When we asked why this was the case, Samsung said retailers prefer barcodes over NFC because they don’t have to install any new infrastructure to support it. via The Verge.
Given the imminent launch announcement of the Galaxy S IV, the likely sales of millions of devices (much like the S III and Note lines) this could and should get some immediate attention. Developers can start here. Earlier this week, MLB (also a Samsung partner) announced support for Passbook at 13 ballparks … with the intentional similarities here from Samsung, perhaps we’ve got a real chance at a standard for how payments get presented.