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Thursday, June 22, 2017

What is Samsung Pay?


New Delhi: Samsung users in India will be able to make payments using debit cards, credit cards, mobile wallet like Paytm and unified payments interface (UPI) using a single app, with the launch of Samsung Pay on Wednesday.

The official launch of the app comes around two weeks after Samsung introduced its mobile payment service for select users in India who signed up for its early access program.Samsung Pay is currently available in 14 countries including the US, China, Spain and Australia, with India and Sweden being the latest entrants. It was initially launched in August 2015 in South Korea.

Mint decodes Samsung Pay:

What is Samsung Pay?

It is a mobile payment service by Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd. that allows you to pay for goods and services simply by waving your Samsung smartphone near a cash register instead of swiping a credit card or doling out your payment information.

Is this service available on all Samsung smartphones?

No, currently Samsung Pay works with select models of company’s line of Galaxy smartphones—Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016 and 2017) and Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016 and 2017).

How does it work?

The service works with all regular swipe-based card machines which support NFC (near field communication) or MST (magnetic secure transmission). The former works by building a high frequency wireless network between the phone and the payment terminal, while the latter creates a dynamic magnetic field between the smart phone and the payment terminal’s card reader.

The user can make the payment by tapping the smartphone on a NFC enabled point-of-sale machine, selecting the card and authenticating the transaction through biometrics—fingerprint—or a four digit PIN. With other cards terminal that does not support NFC feature, the payment can be made using MST and thus is convenient to use everywhere.

Who are on board?

Currently, the Samsung Pay app supports credit and debit cards of Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. For State Bank of India, only the credit cards are supported while the support for debit cards will be added sometime in the future.

Citibank card holders have also been integrated apart from Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Samsung has partnered with Axis Bank to facilitate payments using UPI. It will also support payments through mobile wallets. Currently, Paytm, the largest digital payments firm in the country, is the only wallet on board.

Where can I use Samsung Pay?

Currently, the app has been designed to substitute the physical debit/credit cards. It uses the scanned image of the credit or debit card to generate a 16-digit token number for payments. The token number is randomly generated for every transaction and has nothing to do with your credit/debit card number.

It can be used for payments of goods and services at retail outlets simply by waving your Samsung smartphone near a cash register. Payments using the quick response (QR) code are also possible using the UPI QR code or Paytm QR code at merchants’ location.

“Earlier, the tap and go technology was restricted to cards but now Samsung has introduced this feature to smart phones as well. It is an urban-centric issuing side technology but the acquiring side also needs to be emphasized upon, “said Sunil Kulkarni, deputy managing director, Oxigen Services (India) Pvt. Ltd, a payment company.

Is it secure?

Samsung claims that it there is no storage of information, all the data is encrypted. There are three levels of security—payments can be authorized by scanning your fingerprint or entering your Samsung Pay PIN. All transactions use a random token instead of the card number, which means the actual card information isn’t shared while paying and details stay safe; and with Samsung Knox—a patented security technology, even if the phone is compromised, card information is still safely encrypted within a separate data vault.

Why should I try it?

It allows payments using debit cards, credit cards, mobile wallet-Paytm (as of now) and UPI; all through a single app.

Also, the fact that Samsung Pay uses both NFC and MST for payments makes it usable at a large number of retail outlets. MST sends a magnetic signal from your device to the payment terminal’s card reader (to emulate swiping a physical card without having to upgrade the terminal’s software or hardware).However, its success will depend largely on how quickly it can process a transaction.

However, as of now Samsung Pay only works with select Samsung handsets selling upwards of Rs20,000, making it inaccessible for many. Also, the service doesn’t allow online payments and can only be used for payments at retail outlets, so we don’t expect it to replace your mobile wallets anytime soon.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 said to adopt facial recognition for payments


Seoul: Samsung Electronics Co.’s new Galaxy S8 will employ facial-recognition technology for mobile payments within months of release, adding cutting-edge security to help the marquee device stand out from rivals such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone, people familiar with the matter said.

The Galaxy S8 to be unveiled later this month will blend fingerprint, iris and facial detection to verify users accessing mobile services including Samsung Pay, the people said. It’s already working with banks to help them embrace facial recognition systems in coming months, they said, asking not to be identified talking about a private matter. Samsung declined to comment.

The Korean company needs to make a splash after killing off the fire-prone Note 7, which cost it more than $6 billion and the global lead in smartphones. Success for the Galaxy S8 will be crucial to salvaging Samsung’s reputation, especially with de facto chief Jay Y. Lee detained in a corruption scandal that’s already led to the ouster of the nation’s president. And it’ll be going up against the new iPhone due later in 2017— the 10th anniversary of the iconic device.

While previous Galaxy phones have allowed users to unlock their phones with facial recognition, the Galaxy S8 would be the first to use the technology to verify financial payment applications.

With mobile security taking on greater importance among consumers, the Korean company has been trying to bolster its facial detection rate over the years, the people said. Iris and facial detection capabilities complement each other: phones can rely on iris detection when there’s not enough ambient light to recognize facial features. But the smartphone unlocks faster and with more accuracy when it comes to recognizing faces.

It’s a technology also sought after by competitors. Apple had acquired facial recognition developers in past years, and won a patent last week for a method to detect faces using information in digital video feeds.

Samsung is resorting to other features to try and differentiate its most expensive phone in a field now crowded with up-and-coming rivals, including Chinese names such as Huawei Technologies Co. and Oppo. The Galaxy S8 phone will also come with Samsung’s own voice-based Siri-like digital assistant, the people said. However, that was developed largely in-house and the first version of the software won’t borrow much from Viv Labs Inc., they said. Samsung acquired the US-based artificial-intelligence software company only in October.

The Galaxy S8 is also said to come with a full-screen front, minus a physical home button. Such bezel-less displays provide more viewing real estate, though Samsung will bury a virtual home button in the lower part of glass. It will also employ more power-efficient organic light-emitting diode technology, people with direct knowledge of the matter have said

Apple’s tablet sales beat market trend, record fastest growth in December quarter


NEW DELHI: Apple recorded the fastest growth in the Indian tablet market in the quarter ended December 2016 and made it into the top five, even as the segment shrank 3.1% to 3.7 million units for the year. The declining trend, which has been consistent over the past few years, is expected to continue, analysts at two research firms said.

Apple’s shipments in the December quarter grew 16% from the preceding one and 17% from the year earlier, said analysts at International Data Corporation (IDC) India, adding that the Cupertino-based company had moved up the rankings after a long time.

“While iPad Air 2 remained the topselling model for Apple, constituting half its total shipments, the iPad Pro accounted for 22.7% of India’s total detachable category in 2016,” IDC said Thursday. Detachables, which come with keyboards that can removed, are a subset of the tablet market.

For the quarter and year ended December, the top four tablet makers by volume were Datawind, Samsung, Lenovo and iBall, in that order. Micromax was fifth for the full year and Apple took the slot in the fourth quarter.

Cybermedia Research (CMR) reported a sharper 18% on-year fall in tablet shipments in 2016, to 3.5 million units, with Datawind leading the market, followed by Samsung, Pantel and Micromax.

IDC analysts said consumer demand for tablets will decline in the coming years thanks to smartphones with large screens, reflecting a global trend as buyers hold on to their old devices instead of buying new ones.

Commercial shipments may partially offset this with adoption having increased recently. The segment grew 35% in the full year.

“We expect this to grow further in coming quarters,” said IDC India senior analyst Karthik J. “Detachables are expected to continue with healthy double-digit growth in 2016.”

CMR expects data bundling and a strategic focus on industries such as healthcare or cab aggregators to provide some growth. But consolidation is set to hit this segment as well, the firm said, predicting that only six to seven players may remain, having dropped to 22 from 66 in 2015.

Fourth-quarter tablet shipments fell 19.6% from the preceding one and 4.3% from the year earlier to 820,000 units.

“This is primarily due to seasonal decline after festive spike in Q3 and demonetization limiting the consumer sales in the last quarter of the year,” IDC said.

IDC said the detachables category grew 30.7% in 2016, driven by demand from both the consumer and commercial segments. Acer accounted for almost a fourth of them, followed by Apple’s iPad Pro. 4G tablets accounted for almost 25% of total tablet shipments in 2016, up from 6% in the previous year, both research agencies said.

HMD Global to make Nokia 3310, other models in India


BARCELONA: Finnish firm HMD Global, which has right to market Nokia brand, is likely to make all devices of the historic phone company in India including the iconic “Nokia 3310”.

“We will attempt to ensure all our products are made in India. We will source all our product from India,” HMD Mobile India vice president Ajey Mehta told PTI here.

HMD Global, which has struck a 10-year brand licensing agreement with Nokia for mobile phones and tablets, will launch a new version of the 17-year old ‘Nokia 3310’ during April-June for around Rs 3,500 a unit.

It will also bring in Android-powered Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 to India during the second quarter itself.

Taiwanese electronic company Foxconn is manufacturing partner of HMD Global.

At present, some feature phones are already being manufactured in India at Foxconn facility.

Mehta said the company is even evaluating development of 4G feature phone.

“We are evaluating all opportunity in the market,” Mehta said, adding India is very important market for HMD Global.

“All consumer requirements are fed up to the product team at our company which then develops the final product,” Mehta said.

The company will sell Nokia phones through both offline and online channels.

“Whichever channel will help reach us to consumers, we will go with that. We will be channel agnostic both offline and online. We currently cover close to 80,000 retailers but we plan to increase that in the future,” Mehta said.

He said the company is also boosting its after sales service channel and will have direct presence in at least around 250 towns in the country by the time phones are launched.

Mobile gaming eclipses home game consoles, PC and Mac plays: Report


New Delhi: Mobile gaming overtook both home game consoles and PC and Mac gaming for the first time with the highest consumer spend in 2014.

But mobile gaming’s lead widened globally in 2016 with mobile game spend accounting over 25% higher than PC/Mac gaming and more than double home game consoles last year, according to a new report by App Annie and IDC.

According to the report, massive growth in Asia’s key markets helped it net the highest global gaming spend in 2016. Over 60% of spend was in Asia alone—a significant increase from last year. Also, new technologies bolstered the growth of mobile gaming with games that utilized augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Among mobile apps, games represented over 80% of total worldwide consumer spend for combined iOS App Store and Google Play last year, while accounting for roughly 35% of total worldwide downloads.

Games also made up a larger share of Google Play’s consumer spending compared to iOS.

However, in terms of amount spent on games, consumers spent more on iOS than Google Play. In terms of worldwide spending, Asia-Pacific gained in share of game spending for iOS App Store and Google Play combined last year, mostly due to massive growth in China on iOS and Japan on both major app stores.

The region also gained a share of consumer spending for handheld titles and PC and Mac gaming.

Pokémon GO, primarily developed by Niantic, launched in July for iOS and Android, quickly became the world’s first hit AR game. It had the highest monthly active user base of any mobile game in every month in the second half of 2016, peaking at over 300 million active Android and iOS users in August. The game was the third-highest grossing mobile game for all of 2016, with over $950 million in total consumer spending despite only being out for second half of the year.

Gaming trends

• Both Nintendo and Sony enjoyed a top five grossing title on iOS and/or Android platforms, a clear shift in focus for the traditional handheld game console leaders—and implying both companies will be a force in mobile gaming in 2017 and beyond.

• All five of the top grossing games on handheld game consoles were part of either the Mario or Pokémon franchises, further proving the lasting power of Nintendo’s top properties. Unsurprisingly, these were both integral to Nintendo’s initial foray into the mobile gaming market.

• Pokémon GO emerged as the world’s first AR game mega hit—lifetime-to-date consumer spending topped $1 billion in early Q1 2017—and it follows that similar games will debut in 2017 and that, more broadly, AR will be an important and permanent component of the global mobile app market moving forward.

• Games generated over 80% of combined iOS and Google Play app spending in 2016 on less than 40% of total app downloads; mobile gaming is both larger and growing faster than PC/Mac gaming and home console gaming heading into 2017.

• Mobile gaming continued to grow at a healthy rate in 2016, expanding its lead over the other gaming devices.

• Rapid growth in a few key markets, most notably China and Japan, helped fuel mobile gaming’s ascent; over 60% of mobile game spending in 2016 occurred in Asia-Pacific, a significant increase from the previous year.

• For iOS and Google Play combined, Pokémon GO was the third highest-grossing game in 2016.

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