Samsung challenges Apple Passbook with wallet app for Android
Samsung Electronics unveiled a new virtual wallet application enabling Android smartphone users to store and manage event tickets, boarding passes, loyalty cards and coupons in one place, a model popularized by Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Passbook for iOS.
Currently available in beta to selected partners and scheduled to roll out to consumers this May, Samsung Wallet supports features including time- and location-based push notifications alerting consumers to relevant coupons and tickets as well as real-time updates on membership card points and changes to boarding passes. Users redeem passes and coupons by opening the wallet app to display bar codes scanned at payment terminals.
Partners can integrate their apps into the container via the Samsung Wallet open API, available for download here. Samsung announced agreements are already in place with Walgreens, Belly, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Lufthansa.
Like Apple Passbook, Samsung Wallet does not include mobile payment capabilities. Earlier this week, Samsung announced it will pre-install Visa's Near Field Communications-based payWave app on all future smartphones; speaking at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Samsung executives said merchants prefer barcodes over NFC because the former does not require them to install new point-of-sale infrastructure, but did not rule out integrating NFC features into future Wallet updates.
Samsung leads both worldwide smartphone sales and overall mobile phone sales, according to research firm Gartner. The vendor sold 384.6 million phones last year, with smartphones accounting for 53.5 percent of that total, and ended 2012 controlling 22 percent of worldwide mobile sales, ahead of Nokia (NYSE:NOK) at 19.1 percent and Apple at 7.5 percent. Samsung's closest Android rival, ZTE, follows at 3.9 percent.
Apple introduced Passbook last fall in conjunction with its iOS 6 mobile operating system update. Partners including Starbucks, Target, Fandango and American Airlines have updated their respective iOS apps to offer Passbook support.
- read this Verge article
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