In Catchup Mode, Samsung Announces Mobile Payment System, Smartphones

Samsung announced new models of its flagship Galaxy S series of smartphones and a mobile payment system designed to compete with the one that Apple debuted a few months ago.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will come with Samsung Pay, which the company said will debut in the second half of the year, protected in part by new security systems it calls Samsung KNOX. Samsung Pay is designed to be device-, merchant- and card-issuer agnostic, Samsung said. Apple Pay has been adopted by most major banks and at least 200,000 retailers so far, giving it a significant head start in creating a truly secure mobile wallet that is both more convenient and much safer than traditional credit cards.

The Edge is the first Galaxy smartphone to include an extra curved bezel along the length of the phone’s right edge that can either extend the main screen or display customized streams of additional information. The Edge design first debuted as a variant of last year’s “phablet” model from Samsung, the Note 4. Both new phone models will use version 4 of Corning Gorilla Glass, and come in multiple colors. Both models’ rear-facing camera will include a 16-megapixel sensor, a new quick-launch capability and a range of options to further hone photo quality.

The company also touted the phones’ fast wireless re-charging capabilities, saying that the phones can get 4 hours of charge after 10 minutes on a recharging pad. The phones are 7mm thick or less, and weigh 138 grams or less, with a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen (which translates to 577 pixels per inch) and a new processor based on a 14-nanometer chip-fabrication process.

The phones will be available April 10 in configurations with 32, 64 and 128 gigabytes. The phones will come with the newest version of Android, v. 5.0, known as Lollipop.

The announcements in Barcelona at the annual Mobile World Congress trade show come about a month after Apple announced the biggest financial quarter in the history of capitalism, selling about 75 million smart phones with a stunningly high gross profit margin a hair under 40 percent.

Samsung remains the world’s biggest phone seller, and dominates the world of Android-based smartphones, selling more units than its five closest competitors combined, according to a just-released market study from IDC. Some version of the Android operating system powers more than 81 percent of all smart phones. Apple’s iOS operating system has nearly all the remaining market share, slightly less than 15 percent.

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