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Samsung's grand obsession with the iPhone

Matt Hamblen | March 3, 2015
With the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung believes it has contenders capable of beating Apple's smartphone.

Also at the Unpacked event, Samsung said that the powerful batteries in the new phones charge faster than any in the industry, taking just 10 minutes to get enough charge for four hours of daily use, or half the time of the iPhone 6.

The batteries in both new phones are also built-in for the first time. Samsung refused to provide a built-in battery in previous models for a long time, saying it waited until it could develop quick-charging capabilities while other manufacturers sacrificed convenience for design.

Such statements comparing the Galaxy devices to the iPhone led Carolina Milanesi, an analyst for Kantar WorldWide, to declare in an interview, "Samsung is so obsessed with Apple... saying 'we need to do this or that.' "

Milanesi said it was better for Samsung to improve the design of its latest flagship phone instead of coming up with a series of company-branded applications, widgets andservices. Consumers usually more easily respond to stunning design and materials than to software features, she said.

While Samsung believes wireless power and Samsung Pay will be important differentiators, Milanesi was less certain. "Nobody buys an iPhone because of Apple Pay," she said. "Using Apple Pay is not automatic and, for me, it's not natural over just pulling out a credit card."

Milanesi said mobile payments with NFC or other magnetic methods might take a long while for adoption in the U.S. because consumers haven't demanded such capabilities. "People are saying they didn't really want it in the first place," she said.

Kolhatkar disagreed with Milanesi's assessment on the potential for mobile payments in the U.S. "We are very confident there will be a trend toward mobile payments and adoption," he said. While mobile payments haven't taken off with the NFC technology, Samsung believes its magnetic secure technology from LoopPay will ignite wider consumer interest, he said.

Reports that some of the magnetic payments with earlier LoopPay technology had been inconsistent didn't concern him either. Inconsistent performance "is not going to be a problem," Kolhatkar said. Also, Samsung Pay is supported by tokenization cryptography and a secure hardware element used in Samsung Knox's enterprise security product line. There's further security with a touch-type fingerprint scan, which is an improvement over a scrolling fingerprint scan in earlier Galaxy products.

With the bolstered security in Samsung Pay, consumers should feel more confident in using it, he said.

Given that banks and credit card companies are already onboard with Samsung Pay, Kolhatkar added, "We're very bullish on it."


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