Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Samsung Unveils Wallet, No NFC Integration


COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Samsung, most noticeably in Apple’s footsteps, unveiled their ticket and coupon-keeper Wallet app for Android. The announcement came during MWC’s Developer Day and offered the media a chance to revel in its open-ended comparison to Apple’s Passbook app for the iPhone.

The app will let Android users store coupons, membership cards, boarding passes and tickets in one place, while also offering notifications of flight changes, updates or booking details.

But one such app is only as good as its partners, right? Samsung’s lineup of third-party providers includes Walgreens, Major League Baseball, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com and more. What consumers need to know is whether or not Wallet has the ability to attract a longer list of partners.

To encourage adoption by third-party supporters, Samsung is launching its Wallet app in May with an open API for developers looking to make their apps compatible with Wallet. Samsung is in hopes that Android-favoring developers will take the bait in order to expand the list of supporters to exceed that of Apple’s Passbook.

Where Samsung truly has me stumped is its decision to avoid integrating near field communication (NFC) features. This comes after the announcement of Samsung’s partnership with Visa and tap-to-pay e-commerce, the intention of this being faster adoption of NFC interactions. The advantage (and then some) would have slanted Samsung’s way should they have integrated the technology, but the app will instead employ barcodes when consumers make a purchase or use other membership features.

So, why not feature NFC for Wallet consumers? TheVerge reported that Samsung believes traditional barcodes will be more infrastructure-friendly for retailers and third-party supporters.

The company says that a version of the app will be made available soon.

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