Samsung Pay Is Here, and It Could Be the Best Reason to Get the Galaxy S8

On a trip to the mall late last year, as I got to the checkout kiosk to pay for the clothes I had just bought, I realised I didn’t have my wallet on me. Forced to make the walk back to where I had parked, I envied people living in countries that have had the option to pay with their phones for a few years, and wondered when I would be able to have that luxury too.

Well, that day has come. Samsung Pay launched officially in India on Wednesday, allowing you to simply make payments with your phone – as long as it’s one of six Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy S7, and Galaxy Note 5. If you have one, then all you need to do is get the app, and enter your card details on first run (assuming your account is with one of the supported banks, such as HDFC and ICICI). Voilà! Who knew the future would be so easy?

Of course, India isn’t the only region to get Samsung’s mobile pay service. Samsung Pay launched in Korea in late 2015, before moving to the US a month later. Since then, Samsung Pay has expanded to the likes of Australia, Brazil, China, and Russia. It’s a tiny market right now, overall, but there’s growing competition from all sides, mostly Apple Pay and Android Pay, at least in markets outside India.

Samsung Pay been here slightly longer for more enterprising people, thanks to an early access programme Samsung made available earlier this month. I’ve tried the beta several times during those weeks, and it’s worked flawlessly so far. To be honest, I have had reservations every time I stepped up to the head of the queue, but the only issue has been the curious/ puzzled faces of the people behind the counter.

It is also really easy to use, too. Like Apple Pay, it’s accessible from the lock-screen. Simply swipe from the bottom, and then swipe left or right to pick the desired one. It remembers what you used last time around, so if you frequently make payments with the same card, you’re good to go with one swipe. Then, align your phone’s back with the card reader, and authenticate using your fingerprint/ PIN combination.

Now if I find myself having forgotten my wallet again, all I’d have to do is get my phone out, and I’d have all my cards with me. Soon, the Gear S3 will have it as well, so you won’t need your phone either. Much more importantly, it’d allow me to leave my clunky wallet behind that I hate having to carry in my back-pocket. It’s a constant annoyance when I’m sitting, and I’d be glad to get rid of it.

Samsung Pay Is Here, and It Could Be the Best Reason to Get the Galaxy S8

This won’t be as universal for everyone, as it depends on your lifestyle. Samsung Pay doesn’t work with ATMs, so you’ll still need to carry your card around if you tend to withdraw cash frequently. Fortunately, I live a cash-less life for the most part, and visit the ATM roughly once every three months, so it’s not a bother for me. But that may not work for you. For what it’s worth, Samsung Pay already has Paytm support, and UPI is on its way, so you can use those routes if you prefer.

The biggest concern for most seems to be security, but mobile payments can actually be more secure. For one, card skimming isn’t possible since you don’t need to physically give your card to anyone, and two, like a chip-and-pin card, Samsung Pay only shares a random token with the reader, not the card number. Plus, it also needs your fingerprint/ PIN for authentication, so you don’t have to worry if your phone gets stolen – although the fact that your phone’s been stolen will still be worrisome.

The other problem with digital payments methods is that support can often be limited. Samsung Pay supports both NFC – which is the common standard for mobile payments – and MST (magnetic secure transmission), which works with most existing card readers, as it emulates the presence of a card by wirelessly transmitting, well, magnetic waves. NFC might be the true future of payments, but it’s a future that’s still not here, even in places such as the US. Samsung Pay’s MST feature is essentially a form of backward compatibility, so you can use this method of payments nearly everywhere, though the people working there might themselves be unaware.

For Samsung, this feature is a fantastic trick up its sleeve, as it gives the Korean company a leg up on its competition. By comparison, the other big two – Apple Pay, and Android Pay – will be limited to NFC-equipped readers even when they do make it to India. Samsung then has a clear advantage in that regard, and one that it can leverage to market its smartphones, and peripherals.

With the launch of the Galaxy S8 just around the corner, Samsung Pay looks like a real selling point. No thanks red iPhone, I know which one I want.

Can Windows 10 mobile-powered Samsung S8 save the Windows phone?

Photos showing a Galaxy S8 model allegedly running Windows 10 Mobile surfaced earlier today. While everyone knew that was a fake, hardcore Windows phone enthusiasts couldn’t help but imagine how their favourite mobile platform would be if ever Samsung decided to launch their dream project.

If truth be told, a Windows version of a Samsung Galaxy S8 isn’t so far off, mostly because Microsoft is itself is selling the phone in its own stores and Samsung agreed to pre-install a series of apps like Skype, Office, and OneDrive.

 The lack of devices was not the biggest problem of Windows Phone of the ecosystem, although it surely was one major drawback.

But as far as the fate of Windows 10 Mobile is concerned, it doesn’t even matter if Samsung launches such a device or not because of a very simple reason: the lack of devices wasn’t the only problem of Microsoft’s mobile ecosystem failed and now a single device can barely make a difference.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is by all means a masterpiece so having it running Windows 10 Mobile would clearly be an important win for Microsoft. But the win will not be a game-changing one. Even if tomorrow Microsoft launches the Galaxy S8, the sales will not be enough to save the platform.

The lack of devices was not the biggest problem of Windows Phone of the ecosystem, although it surely was one major drawback. The lack of developer support, which in turn led to the lack of apps, and also the slow pace at which Microsoft delivered updates had a big impact on Windows phones, with reduced interest from OEMs only the tip of the iceberg which was Microsoft’s problems with its mobile ecosystem.

Another important point to make here is that it is not known if the Galaxy S8 will be able to support the Windows 10 mobile platform or not. The reason being the Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895 processor that powers it is not supported by Microsoft’s operating system.

Microsoft does support this chip but only for Windows 10 on ARM, a new emulation system that brings the full version of the operating system on ARM processors. With this project, Microsoft wants to bring new devices to the market, though there’s still no evidence that phones are also included in this plan.

In the meantime, there’s a good chance that neither Microsoft nor Samsung see a Galaxy S8 running Windows 10 Mobile as a good idea, especially with Redmond’s increased focus on Android and iOS lately.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ Reportedly Receiving Firmware Update, Includes June Security Patch

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New firmware update for Galaxy S8+ said to be rolling out now
  • Brings minor changes to the UI
  • The update includes June security update

Samsung has started rolling out a firmware update to its Galaxy S8+ smartphone in select markets. The new firmware update also brings June Android security patch that was recently released by Google.

Sammobile reports that the new update is now available in India apart from the European market. Samsung Galaxy S8+ users should start receiving the over-the-air notification for the update. As usual, users can also manually check for the update via Settings > About Phone > System Update. The update reportedly comes with software build G955FXXU1AQF7/ G955FOXM1AQF7/ G955FXXU1AQF7 which will differ depending on the region, and is about 450MB in size.

The firmware update for the Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Review) brings minor changes to navigation bar where icons will be added to the left-hand side of the navigation bar, which will now offer more room to users without the bar blocking it. The number of available background colours in navigation bar has been changed as well, and after the update, the background colour will be set to the default colour. The Samsung Galaxy S8+ update changeling also confirms that the update will improve quality of panorama images from Camera. As announced by Google, earlier this month, the June Android security update, which is included in the new firmware update, resolves around 100 issues.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ Reportedly Receiving Firmware Update, Includes June Security Patch

Samsung Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy S8 had earlier received a firmware upgrade that included a fix for the red tint display issue that many users had reported.

Last week, Samsung made the Galaxy S8+ variant with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage available to buy in India. Priced at Rs. 74,900, the variant went on sale via Flipkart.

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Rs. 64,900
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  • Brilliant displays
  • Phenomenal camera quality
  • Class-leading performance
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Consumer Reports smartphone rankings puts the Galaxy S8+ at the top of the table – and the iPhone 7 plus can only manage FIFTH

In the battle of the smartphones, Samsung reigns supreme.

Consumer Reports has released its smartphone ratings analysis, which had found Galaxy S8+ is the best handset on the market, followed shortly after by its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S8.

The report cited the devices’ ‘stunning camera, long battery life, and gorgeous display’ as what brought them to the top and beating its rival Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, which placed fifth.

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Consumer Reports has released its smartphone ratings analysis, which had found Galaxy S8+ (left) best handset on the market, followed shortly after by its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S8 (right)

Consumer Reports has released its smartphone ratings analysis, which had found Galaxy S8+ (left) best handset on the market, followed shortly after by its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S8 (right)

TOP 5 SMARTPHONES

1. Samsung Galaxy S8+

2. Samsung Galaxy S8

3. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

4.  LG G6

5. iPhone 7 Plus

The findings from Consumer Reports shows the Samsung Galaxy S8+ ranked as the top smartphone, closely followed by the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S7 Edge and LG G6.

Samsung had released its long-awaited Galaxy S8 family a few months following its unforgettable Note 7 fiasco – hoping the smartphones would repair its tarnished name.

And it seems that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ were in fact the South Korean firm’s saving grace, as the release from Consumer Reports deemed them ‘top dog’ in the industry.

‘If you want a stunning camera, long battery life, and gorgeous display in a water-resistant package, one of these could be the right phone for you,’ Jerry Beilinson withConsumer Reports shared.

‘You just have to be willing to spend the rent money on it: The S8+ starts at about $840, and the S8 at around $720.’

Although it may be hard for some users to believe Samsung was able to take the top spot, Beilinson has attributed the victory to the smartphone’s overhauled design.

The Galaxy S8 duo are without bezels on the side – the each have thin ones located at the top and bottom.

The Consumer Reports Lab had conducted an analysis on the batteries and found the Galaxy S8+ hit 26 hours, and the S8 (pictured) reached 23 hours of talk-time. The team also deemed the smartphones to have the best cameras

The Consumer Reports Lab had conducted an analysis on the batteries and found the Galaxy S8+ hit 26 hours, and the S8 (pictured) reached 23 hours of talk-time. The team also deemed the smartphones to have the best cameras

And although Samsung has been able to create a minimalist look, it is believed to still support a modern and elegant feel.

Another important addition was increasing the size of the screen, but keeping sticking with the same-size device as previous models.

The S8 and S8+ were also designed to be taller and narrower when held in portrait than previous variants – allowing for an easier hold when snapping a selfie.

While typical smartphones have an aspect ratio of 16:9, the new Samsung handsets have an aspect ratio of 18.5:9.