Pay with your Samsung mobile?
Samsung sets a date, September 28th, for the US launch of its new mobile payments service, and unveils new phones aimed at winning back customers.
Samsung is pulling the trigger on two new super-sized Galaxy smartphones much earlier than expected, unveiling the new Note 5 and S6 Edge+ at an event in New York and saying they’ll be available globally this month.
Both phones feature 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screens, in line with the previous Note 4, which was released in November last year.
Apple is expected to unveil new iPhones in early September.
A closer look at the two new Galaxy phones. Photo: Samsung
The Galaxy Note 5 comes with an upgraded “S Pen” stylus that can now make notes on the phone even while the screen is off, while the S6 Edge+ brings familiar curved edges from the S6 Edge to a larger phablet-style phone.
Both devices feature metal bodies, improved cameras and a more reliable fingerprint sensor. They are powered by octa-core processors, have had their system memory bumped up to 4GB RAM and include big 3000mAh batteries that can be charged wirelessly (with a sold-separately charging pad).
But some features have fallen by the wayside in the upgrade, notably the ability to remove and replace the battery. The internal storage is now locked off too, with no ability to add Micro SD cards. The phones will be available with up to 64GB in storage.
Samsung CEO J.K. Shin introduces the Galaxy S6 Edge+ (left) and Galaxy Note 5. Photo: Reuters
Precise details of the Australian launch are expected next week, with Samsung Australia VP Prasad Gokhale saying the phones would be available for purchase locally “soon”.
“Both devices represent Samsung’s ongoing commitment to developing stylish smartphones that Australians will love”, Mr Gokhale said.
“We look forward to sharing more information closer to the launch date”.
The phones can be charged wirelessly using a special charging pad. Photo: Bloomberg
While Samsung is the world’s leading smartphone maker, competition from both sides — with Apple’s bigger iPhones at the higher end and upstarts including China’s Xiaomi at the lower — are said to be chipping into the South Korean company’s profits.
One expert said he was not sure how well the new phones would help Samsung’s efforts in the competitive smartphone market.
The phones were not different enough, Jonathan Roubini, editor-in-chief of Lab Reviews told Reuters, “So that’s why it’s very hard for them to gain that market share from Apple.”
New accessories let you use that extra screen real-estate to attach a physical keyboard. Photo: Reuters
Mr Roubini said that they may frustrate Android users. “The phone looks very cool, but you cannot change the battery, and you cannot add memory to it.”
Another major announcement at the event was the introduction of Samsung’s own mobile payment system, called Samsung Pay.
While mobile payments systems have been slow to take off in Australia — and Apple Pay, notably, is missing entirely — Mr Gokhale said Samsung Australia is working to get Samsung Pay to our shores “in 2016”.
A sneak peek at the enigmatic Gear S2 smartwatch. Photo: Reuters
Samsung also unveiled some accessories for their new phones, including glittery cases for the Note 5 and covers that add incredibly retro-looking physical keyboards to the front of the phones.
To wrap up the presentation, the company gave a sneak peek at the new Gear S2 smartwatch, expected to be fully revealed on September 3 in Berlin, which sports a round screen.
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