Samsung’s heavily leaked Galaxy S6 and its deal with Apple to supply processors for next year’s iPhone and iPad models suggest the Korean company is making the right moves when it comes to turning itself around.
But the news that it could be about to splash out on a mobile payment solutions company shows that it’s definitely realised that the best bet to return to growth is to offer strong alternatives to rival products.
Gimmicks were by and large sidelined by Samsung in 2014, but adding mobile payments is more than a stunt to grab headlines, a la eye–tracking software.
It’s a necessity if it wants to compete with Apple over the next year and beyond.
Apple Pay has been a success so far in the United States.
It’s also helped bolster Google Wallet user numbers, according to recent research, meaning Samsung cannot afford to wait any longer.
Word from anonymous sources is that Samsung is in talks to acquire LoopPay, a US firm which already makes payment tools for the iPhone.
The company's iPhone cases feature a payment system which lets users hold their device above a pay machine’s swipe slot, transmitting the information securely.
NFC is not required, making it hugely appealing to Samsung. It means it can be used in far more stores than Apple Pay, which needs NFC to work.
That’s not to say this is a totally different offering.
LoopPay also supports NFC, so it’ll play nice in places that have compatible terminals.
Word is that Samsung wants to tie it in with its fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S5 and Note 4, giving it an extra layer of security and putting it ahead of Google Wallet in the process.
Of course, success is dependent on it cutting deals with credit card companies and banks, as well as being as intuitive and safe as Apple Pay.
It can’t afford to fail on those counts.
But if it can get LoopPay into the Galaxy S6, then it’ll be able to offer users a viable, easy to understand rival to Apple Pay.
That may be a tough ask, especially as the S6 is expected to land in spring and any deal according to one source, ‘could still fall apart’.
But leave it any longer and Apple will have had the best part of a year to hone its service and perhaps even launch it globally.
Still, the rumours are promising.
Such innovations have been hyped for so long, but it seems 2015 may be the year paying with your phone becomes a mainstream reality.