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.
Yale makes a lot of fancy door locks, and it has announced a new one at CES—the first NFC-enabled residential door lock in the US. The Yale Real Living NFC Deadbolt doesn't even have a regular keyhole. You can unlock with either your phone or a code entered on the capacitive keypad.
Droid Zap began as an exclusive feature that Verizon and Motorola hyped up together, but since then, the feature has spread out to all Android phones and iOS as well. Now the app is getting a visual refresh that should make it look at home on modern devices. The colors are bolder, cards are all over the place, and cute imagery ties everything together. There's also a floating action button hovering in the corner.
This is the first update since 2.1 hit back in February, so Motorola has packed quite a few features inside the app. Now users can automatically receive Zaps—photos, videos, etc.—upon launch. Read More
Believe it or not, a lot of Android fans were happy to see Apple announce its new Apple Pay system with the iPhone 6. Thanks to its reliance on NFC technology (welcome to 2011, Cupertino!) and Apple's famous marketing muscle, it meant that NFC payments might finally start taking off, particularly in the US. The same NFC-equipped registers that work with Apple Pay generally work with Google Wallet as well.
Then popular drugstores CVS and Rite-Aid started blocking Apple Pay, which apparently means blocking all NFC payments, including Google Wallet. It turns out that a cabal of US retailers are already working on a proprietary mobile payment system, CurrentC. Read More
Late yesterday, Google began rolling out an update to the Android Wear companion app. Despite a sudden growth of over 2 MB in size, the app only seemed to change the text of a warning, and there were no visible changes on our watches. We knew there had to be something great hidden under the covers, and we were right. The companion app certainly has some interesting changes of its own, but it also acts as the delivery mechanism for a Wear-customized version of Google Play services, and there's a bit to talk about in there, too.
: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.