Samsung unveils Connect Auto, expands mobile-pay services

Samsung unveils Connect Auto, expands mobile-pay services

Models show a demo of Samsung’s first connected car — Samsung Connect Auto — at the company’s booth a day before the opening of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) convention which will run from Monday to Thursday in the Spanish city of Barcelona. / Courtesy of Samsung Electronics

By Kim Yoo-chul

BARCELONA, Spain ― Samsung Electronics is apparently on track to achieve a transition into the less-volatile business-to-business (B2B) sector after announcing a series of new plans.

Over the last few decades, Samsung’s tech leadership has enabled the firm to get ahead on process migration for chips and displays.

But its conventional winning formula ― producing goods with on-time delivery, output commitment and better prices ― is increasingly being challenged because a new order is prevailing in the global technology industry with the rise of Chinese competitors.

Samsung hopes to remain adaptive and it’s been quick to respond to challenging market situations because it’s been keen to strengthen its business partnership in order to sell its components and devices for integrated solutions.

On Sunday, Samsung Electronics announced it will release its first in-vehicle technology ― Samsung Connect Auto ― at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), here, which will run from Feb. 22 to 25.

“The Samsung Connect Auto will be operational by means of a unique port in the car’s dashboard. The Connect Auto is a location-based service helping drivers check any expected hurdles on a real-time basis while driving, which is good for driver safety and beneficial for fuel consumption,” the company said in a statement.

Another key feature is a cloud-computing system, which can provide individually-tailored advice in accordance with each driver’s habits.

“The Auto solution is also embedded with a Samsung-owned KNOX mobile security solution for improved management both in hardware, software and application. The interesting thing is the recently-released automotive product will be powered by a Samsung-developed Tizen operating system,” said the statement.

The firm’s spokesman Yoon Ji-nam said its latest development will help Samsung Electronics expand its enterprise into the insurance and telecommunications industry, respectively.

For an effective push, Samsung teamed up with AT&T of the United States, a major wireless company. The alliance is calling for the American telecom to release the service to its customers within the second half of this year.
Samsung Pay on rise

While Samsung’s chief rival Apple has been servicing its mobile payment solution ― Apple Pay ― to Chinese customers, the Korean company said it plans to take on the iPhone maker in a heated race for mobile payment by adding more customers for Samsung Pay.

In a separate statement, Samsung said that the number of its Pay users has exceeded five million, globally, since the release of Samsung Pay last August in South Korea.

“The total transaction volume topped $500 million, which is quite impressive to see. This is, according to the company’s analysis, because of increased consumer confidence for the Samsung Pay in terms of convenience and safety,” the release added.

Its Pay service will be available in China by next March and the company is in talks regarding Pay with several unnamed firms in Australia, Brazil, Singapore, Spain, Canada and the United Kingdom, countries where Samsung has huge presence.

So far, more than 70 leading banks have signed with Samsung to jointly promote the Pay service.

Samsung’s management in mobile communications is set to talk more about its detailed plans for the Pay service during a dinner meeting with South Korean media, Feb. 23.

The two releases come just a day before the opening of the MWC, the world’s most-influential mobile convention on every February.

In a strategy to appeal for its moves to be recognized as a “trustable solution provider” not just a “product seller,” Samsung’s unpacked event for the Galaxy S7 will live using its virtual reality (VR) headsets.

“Participants may learn the company’s transition efforts on how to create new ecosystem using existing devices and how Samsung is progressing amid an era of convergence,” said another company statement, adding that it will set up a “VR four-dimensional (4D)” theater to tell the history of its Galaxy products.

Its street-site “Gear VR Studio” will run from Feb. 21 to Feb. 28 in Catalunya Square.

Beyond such updated business strategies and devices, Samsung’s new component will also be unveiled to support the annual fair’s convention concept, it said.

The company’s network division has been set up to introduce upgraded disaster prevention network solutions and the company also has a plan to exhibit wireless processors to be operational within the Internet of Things (IoT) frame.

With U.S.-based mobile chip titan Qualcomm, Samsung also plans to hold demonstration sessions for 5G wireless technology.

Qualcomm agreed with Samsung to supply its wireless FSM9955 chips to small cell-based liaison equipment that supports LTE-Unlicensed (U) technology being developed by the Korean company.

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