Samsung Wallet launches as a rival to Apple’s Passbook for Android devices
“Whatever you can do we can do better” is a line Samsung employees must use a lot when taking a look at Apple products. The company has just launched Samsung Wallet, a digital solution for its Android phones that’s rather similar to Apple’s Passbook, which launched in iOS 6.
The Korean manufacturer revealed the forthcoming app at Mobile World Congress 2013, explaining to eager developers and press how it can help users to keep all their tickets, passes, vouchers and coupons all in one place digitally.
Samsung Wallet is still being made, but the company will release an API to developers on March 7th. This will mean that anybody who wants to have their services made compatible with Samsung Wallet can get developing from then, with an aim to be ready by May when the service officially launches.
Just like Apple’s Passbook, Samsung Wallet will be an application on some Samsung phones that will allow the user to store things like gig tickets, flight boarding passes and loyalty cards. The idea is to do away with paper and plastic, making your phone a one-stop gadget for paying and getting in to places.
Samsung has already partnered with Walgreens, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Booking.com, Expedia, Lufthansa, Hotels.com and Belly to make various digital tickets and passes available on the app.
People may be saying that Samsung is copying Apple right now, but it has a huge advantage: NFC. When Apple revealed Passbook everybody thought the iPhone 5 would have NFC so you could simply touch your phone on a terminal to pay for something or check it, but it doesn’t. Most of Samsung’s Android phones these days do have NFC, so in theory Samsung Wallet could be the digital payment system we’ve really been waiting for.
Although the launch frame of May 2013 is a couple of months after the March 14th reveal of Samsung’s highly anticipated Galaxy S IV, we’re betting that it’ll be an exclusive feature on the phone.