OnePlus has just announced its new flagship phone, and it went mostly as expected. Snapdragon 810? Check. 3300mAh battery? Check. Awkward fingerprint sensor? Double check. NFC? Umm... wait, what? That's right there's no NFC in this "2016 flagship killer." We asked OnePlus what the deal was, and get this, OnePlus' PR confirmed there's no NFC in the OnePlus 2 and said it's because people don't use it. It's all your fault!
If you're not familiar with Disney Infinity, it's basically the media giant's answer to digital toys like Skylanders, Angry Birds Telepods, and Nintendo Amiibo. The gist is that you buy your kids RFID-enabled collectible statues, they stick 'em on a base station, and then they can use digital versions of those characters inside the Disney Infinity game. Is there a technical reason that a completely digital character needs a $15 hunk of physical plastic to unlock? Why certainly, so long as "technical reason" includes "making Disney a boatload of money."
The Infinity games are available on all major consoles and the PC.
At CES in January, Yale announced they would soon release an NFC residential lock, the first of its kind in the US. A product page with the option to pre-order went up soon thereafter with the promise of delivery sometime in April. The ship date was updated today, and it seems Yale is going to miss their target − but not by much. The Yale YRD340 Mobile Phone Entry lock will be available May 4th for $224.99. It comes in three different colors: oil rubbed bronze, polished brass, and satin nickel.
NFC, when implemented properly, is a wonderful tool that is quick and efficient.
Google Wallet has existed for almost four years, but everyone suddenly wants to be involved with mobile payments now that Apple Pay is a thing. Samsung Pay is expected later this year, and Microsoft is rumored to be preparing its own NFC payment service called Microsoft Payments. The news comes by way of a regulatory filing in which Microsoft applies to deploy a money transmission service in all 50 states.
Along with its Xperia Z4 Tablet announcement at MWC, Sony unveiled a set of accessories including this adorable little thing. Officially dubbed the "Smart Bluetooth® Speaker BSP60," this round black ball that slightly looks like Mickey Mouse's head if his ears were squashed (or the 8 ball in pool, or the pendulum's head in Beauty And The Beast, or maybe a black version of Eve's head in Wall-E) is an alarm, a 2.5W Bluetooth speaker, and a voice assistant.
Used in conjunction with Sony's Voice Control Extension app, it can perform daily tasks such as setting alarms and timers, making phone calls, checking the weather, and more. It doesn't seem like it will have access to more thorough searches a la Amazon Echo or Google Now, but like them, it can be activated from afar with an "OK Speaker," command thanks to its built-in microphone.
Samsung presentations always include a litany of buzzwords and redundant features, some of which are meaningless or borrowed directly from Google and Android, while others point to bigger aspirations. Today's announcement for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge introduced a new feature called Samsung Pay, a direct competitor to Google Wallet and Apple Pay. Even though this is just one more product that attempts to have consumers replace their credit cards with a phone, it carries a distinct advantage over NFC-based alternatives: it also works with traditional credit card readers.
Samsung Pay offers two methods for communicating with payment terminals: Near Field Communication (NFC) and Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST).
After several weeks of rumors, Google has announced their partnership with Softcard. The purpose of this venture is to combine forces with Google Wallet, which has been around since 2011 but never enjoyed wide usage. With Apple Pay having recently entered the fray, Google apparently felt the time is now to get their service back on the map. Buying their competitor Softcard's technology, though, is just the beginning.
In addition to gaining Softcard's back end, Google Wallet will soon be preloaded on all phones sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the United States.
Wallet has to be pretty frustrating for Google. They beat Apple to the punch by quite a long time, but the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus basically introduced the lay public to mobile payments. How did this happen? Insert the tired cliches about Apple's control over hardware and software here. More interesting is what Google will do, considering how much they still have to gain by getting more adoption of their Apple Pay competitor.
A report by The Wall Street Journal indicates that Google is not going to stand pat while this burgeoning market passes them by. While it seems much is still in the air, Google is apparently planning several interesting things to remake Wallet, which they will re-introduce at this coming May's I/O conference.