Sprint/Boost/Virgin announces Waterproof Kyocera, Galaxy S3 and new Wallet

Sprint has made a few announcements today for new devices and services coming to its customers on its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA prepaid brands. The company announced today that the Samsung Galaxy S III will be landing on both Boost and Virgin beginning in June. Both devices will be available on the two carriers’ no contract plans but Sprint didn’t make any details available for pricing on the device yet.

Also announced today is the waterproof Kyocera Hydro Edge smartphone, a 4.1-inch Android 4.1 device that’s capable of submersion up to 3.28 feet. No exact launch date or pricing as of yet, but Sprint will be making it available through both its Sprint and Boost Mobile brands later this summer.

Sprint also announced today that it is launching a new ‘Boost Mobile Wallet’ service powered by technology from mobile payments company Wipit. The service is available for Boost customers starting today through a free app on Google Play, but for now is only available to users in Los Angeles, San Diego and parts of New Jersey.

The app allows users to load cash into their wallet at Boost Mobile stores, send money to 135 countries, and Sprint will also be giving out reloadable Visa prepaid cards for ATM access: Read more

Samsung officially unveils Samsung Wallet, a ‘Passbook-inspired’ digital ticket app

Samsung is today officially unveiling its “Samsung Wallet” mobile app solution, and it is quickly gaining attention for similarities to Apple’s iOS 6 ticket, card, and coupon solution known as Passbook. For those familiar with Apple’s app, Samsung Wallet appears to work much the same way. The app will allow users to store event tickets, membership cards, coupons, and boarding passes in one central app. From there, users will be able to present the digital passes and companies supporting the standard can scan a barcode included for each digital ticket.

Samsung has already posted a developers document for the app to outline how devs can implement support for the app using an API (via The Verge). The document also explained how the app works and noted that users will also receive real-time notifications related to their tickets, just as Apple does with Passbook.

Passbook-vs-SamsungWallet

As for the Apple influence, aside from the look and feel of the app and icon (pictured above), the Samsung Wallet app doesn’t seem to offer any additional functionality above and beyond what Passbook already offers. The company confirmed to TheVerge that the app will initially not be integrated with NFC wallet solutions (despite a new partnership with Visa), but it did confirm partners for the app’s launch include: Walgreens, Belly, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Lufthansa.  Read more

Samsung and Visa announce deal to preload Visa payWave on future Samsung devices

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Samsung and Visa today announced a deal that would see future Samsung devices preloaded with the Visa payWave applet, allowing consumers to “wave and pay” through Visa’s contactless payment terminals. The Visa payWave service will of course only come preloaded on select Samsung devices, but rumor has it that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 will be the first to receive the functionality. While Samsung and Visa were showing off the technology with existing NFC-enabled devices at MWC this week, CNET and others have apparently confirmed through sources that the S4 will indeed be the first device to get the applet preloaded.

  • Global Strategic Alliance
    Visa and Samsung have agreed to work together to enable the next generation of Samsung mobile devices with Visa payment technology, and to partner with financial institutions to accelerate the availability of mobile payment solutions globally.
  • Samsung to Connect to Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Service
    In order to enable financial institutions to launch large scale mobile (NFC) payment programs, Samsung will offer banks the ability to load payment account information over-the-air to a secure chip embedded inSamsung devices, using Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Service3 which is linked to Samsung KMS (Key Management System) – a service that creates secure data storage domains for issuers.
  • Samsung Awarded Global Visa payWave License
    The Visa payWave mobile applet will be preloaded onto selected next-generation Samsung mobile devices featuring NFC technology and an embedded secure element. Off the shelf, these devices are ready to be personalized with Visa payment account information – a simple step that consumers will be able to initiate using a mobile payment application provided by their financial institution.

Visa also noted that the partnership, which isn’t exclusive with Samsung, will allow financial institutions with mobile payment programs to “use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service to securely download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices.”
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Discover is the first to implement Google’s ‘Save to Wallet’ API, makes adding cards easier

Google rolled out its Google Wallet web app at the beginning of the month and introduced support for all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, America Express, and Discover, at the same time. Today, the company announced on the Google Commerce blog that Discover Card is the first to implement the new “Save to Wallet” API for credit and debit card issuers.

Discover securely transmits all required information directly to Google Wallet. You can then select your Discover Card to be the primary method the Google Wallet app will use for in-store purchases, or when shopping online from Google Play or other merchants that accept Google Wallet. You’ll continue to earn rewards on every purchase you make. Discover has also provided Google Wallet with card imagery for the Discover More® Card, so you can easily identify your virtual Discover card in your mobile wallet.

Google demoed the new API during its full Wallet session at Google I/O in June. The feature allows card issuers and eventually other partners to provide a “Save to Wallet” or “Add Your Card” option in their website or application to securely transfer card and account information to Google Wallet. Google said the API would eventually extend to saving Offers in addition to payment cards.

To save a Discover Card to Google Wallet, follow the instructions below:

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Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile to take on Google with $100 million investment in Isis

According to a report from Bloomberg, three of the largest mobile carriers in the US are getting ready to make a $100 million investment in NFC enabled payment system ‘Isis’. This is seen as a move to take some of the $240 billion a year (according to Juniper Research) mobile payment market from Google and, specifically, Google Wallet.

While Isis won’t begin testing the technology until next year, they have already signed up Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Google Wallet has been up and running on Android devices since May but is only available through MasterCard and Citibank with MasterCard Paypass. Having support from Visa, the “world’s largest credit card network”, will certainly give Isis an advantage in the U.S. market.
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