It’s still months away, but rumors about Samsung‘s next smartwatch are already surfacing. Features expected to debut on this wearable include a fingerprint scanner, which would in turn enable secure payments from the smartwatch. And the timetable for this gadget? MWC 2015 in February next year.
This would conveniently coincide with Apple‘s own launch of the Apple Watch. One of the major features of Apple first smartwatch is the ability to authorize payments from it. That said, Apple does identification quite differently. The initial authorization happens via a PIN, but subsequent payments can be done from the Apple Watch as long as it is in contact with the user’s skin. Special sensors on the underside of the watch determine when the device is worn, or at least in contact with skin, and when it is taken off, in which case the authorization is revoked.
Of course, that is less accurate than, say, a biometric scanner, but Apple has been quite slow moving when it comes to incorporating new components into its devices. After all, it is only now that the iPhone 6 got an NFC chip, and even then it has been closed off to anything other than Apple Pay. Samsung, of course, has no such qualms, as can be seen in its adding of full cellular functionality on the Gear S smartwatch. Its second generation smartwatches already have heartrate monitors anyway. Adding a fingerprint scanner would bring its 3rd generation closer to what its smartphones have as well.
For the payment part itself, Samsung is reported to be working with PayPal, which somewhat gives it an edge over Apple Pay if only in the sense that PayPal is a bit more open compared to Apple’s garden. Transaction and balances can then be checked via SMS, which could mean that the next Gear smartwatch would again have its own network connectivity. The only caveat to this new setup is that Samsung will have to cook up something for its own Korean home market, as PayPal is not available there as of the moment.
Although Samsung has been in the smartwatch biz long before Apple outed its Apple Watch, it hasn’t really dipped into the realm of mobile payments in the same way. It won’t be surprising then, if Samsung does decide to go down this path, if people call it out again for being a copycat. Then again, Samsung might have no qualms about that either.
VIA: Business Korea