Samsung Unveils Galaxy S III, Supporting NFC Payments and Enhanced P2P
Samsung Electronics has introduced its much-anticipated Galaxy S III, which, as expected, will support NFC for mobile payment, along with an enhanced version of Google’s Android Beam peer-to-peer pairing-and-sharing feature.
Samsung said the Galaxy S III will be its official Olympics smartphone, also as expected, which would mean it will support payment with Visa’s contactless payment application, payWave.
More than a year ago, Samsung and Visa, both Olympics sponsors, said they would introduce a promotional Olympics phone supporting payWave on SIM cards. Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S III this evening in London, site of the Summer Olympics starting in July. UPDATE: Visa and Samsung made it official May 9, announcing the Galaxy S III will be Samsung's officials Olympic Games phone. UK bank Lloyds TSB will issue the payWave application. END UPDATE.
The phone is the third generation in Samsung’s popular Galaxy series. It supports Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, sports a 4.8-inch screen and comes with enhanced voice and motion-detection features.
Samsung has sold more than 20 million units of the phone’s predecessor, the NFC-enabled Galaxy S II, which Visa earlier certified to run payWave on SIM cards.
Android 4.0 comes with Google’s Android Beam feature built-in, which enhances NFC’s P2P pairing and sharing functionality. Samsung has tweaked this feature even further, with functionality it calls S Beam. It combines Android Beam and WiFi Direct, enabling two Galaxy S III users to exchange videos, music and other big files at a speedy 300 megabits per second by tapping their phones together.
That would enable the users to transfer a 10-megabyte music file within two seconds and a 1-gigabyte film within three minutes, Samsung said in its announcement today. S Beam uses NFC to quickly open and pair the WiFi Direct connection on the two phones. This device-to-device connection allows the users to avoid connecting to a conventional WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth or the mobile network itself to transfer the files.
The phone will be available starting May 29 in Europe, before rolling out globally, said Samsung. The first version of the phone will support 3G+, with a 4G LTE version becoming available in the United States, Japan and South Korea starting this summer, said Samsung.
UPDATE, May 4: While the Galaxy S III will certainly support the single-wire protocol and applications on SIM cards, it's possible that mobile operators will have to order it with the chip inside.
But Samsung also appears to be moving ahead with plans to put embedded chips in its NFC phones to enable payments and other secure applications, as NFC Times has reported. This will likely include some versions of the Galaxy S III.
In an unrelated note, Germany-based smart card vendor Giesecke & Devrient announced Friday the Galaxy S III would be the first commercial model supporting its MobiCore trusted execution environment, which implements a secure area on the smartphone's ARM-based application processor. This area could enable service providers to use digital rights management to control downloads of content, such as premium videos, to the phones.
But it also could work in conjunction with a payment application running on NFC SIM cards in the phones, for example, to safeguard PIN entry on the handset keypad for higher-value payments or to secure the payment data displayed on the handset screen. The implementation of MobiCore in the Galaxy S III is not part of the joint venture Giesecke & Devrient announced last month with ARM and rival vendor Gemalto to promote the deployment of the technology to more phones.. END UPDATE.