Mobile shopping and payment still hasn’t caught on in the U.S. (or nearly anywhere for that matter) despite having devices that have supported it for over a year now (the Galaxy Nexus was probably the first phone that highlighted the feature).
Many thought that when Apple introduced Passbook we’d see the feature gain traction but they didn’t include NFC in the iPhone 5 limiting its effectiveness – it can’t function as a mobile wallet effectively.
Samsung, however, is catching up, and perhaps beating Apple. They released a Wallet app at the MWC last month that offers similar features to the Passbook software. However at the S4 announcement Samsung unveiled a new feature that will allow mobile devices to ‘beam’ barcodes the POS scanners found on almost all checkouts. They’ve done this by working with Mobeam, who came up with the idea of beaming light pulses to the scanner that acts like a physical barcode.
So, what does this mean? Well, the Galaxy S4 can be used for mobile transactions at almost all retailers now, instead of relying on retail stores investing in (often expensive) NFC readers and software to process transactions. This is the push that the mobile wallet needs to get going.