The upcoming Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch will have a Near Field Communication chip in it, according to reports. But only time will tell if Samsung plans to use the chip for payments.
The Galaxy Gear will have "built-in NFC to allow for bump-to-sync or [bump-to-] authenticate," the tech news site GigaOm reports. A leaked screenshot posted by @evleaks shows how to use NFC to pair the smartwatch with a Samsung phone. Samsung plans the watch's official unveiling on Sept. 4, reports say.
For the most part, tech blogs have speculated about the device's screen size, resolution, camera and speaker capabilities, and how it uses Bluetooth to connect to smartphones.
Samsung representatives did not respond to inquiries prior to deadline.
A watch's small size compared to larger devices make it well suited for NFC payments, though there would be some drawbacks, says Jeffrey Green, director of emerging technologies advisory services for Boston-based Mercator Advisory Group.
"A watch form factor is limited by the size of the screen, from a true NFC perspective," Green says. "It would function better as basic contactless technology, maybe in the transportation world as a tie-in to fare cards."
Similarly, the watch's screen wouldn't be the best option for consumers to interact with merchants to receive loyalty programs or daily deals.
Ultimately, Green says, the smartwatch represents "another form factor as companies are still fishing around" to find mobile products that resonate with customers.
The same type of speculation surrounds the iWatch Apple is rumored to be developing. Even though Apple has never included NFC technology in its iPhones, the company has filed many patent applications that include the two-way communication technology.
Apple is also rumored be planning to use biometrics in its next iPhone. This security technology could be the framework for Apple's entry into mobile payments beyond its current iTunes Store.
Apple is reportedly announcing its newest iPhone on Sept. 10, not even a week after Samsung's expected Sept. 4 announcement of Galaxy Gear.