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? Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
Google has had a fairly rough time convincing consumers to use Wallet for in-store purchases. However, with the recent acquisition of Softcard's "technology" alongside plans to preload Wallet on Android phones from most major US carriers, Google is putting its weight behind a renewed effort to be a major player at brick-and-mortar locations. Amidst rumors that Google still has something else to announce at I/O, Ars Technica received a tip that a brand new payment platform called Android Pay will be announced at the conference.
According to the source, Android Pay is specifically geared for mobile devices and allows 3rd-party apps to drive both virtual and real-world purchases through a single interface. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
According to the latest rumors circulating in Silicon Valley, Google is mulling a possible acquisition of NFC payment provider Softcard. Perhaps that name doesn't sound familiar—it used to be Isis until that unpleasantness in the Middle East forced a name change. Apparently those mega-creepy ads didn't do the trick because the rumors point to a very low sale price.