Samsung Electronics Co. rebooted its premium Galaxy smartphone line with the S6 and S6 Edge, featuring payment software that makes them compatible with about 90% of card readers.
Samsung Pay will be available starting in the third quarter in the U.S. and South Korea before being rolled out globally. Samsung has partnered with MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. and is in discussions to work with companies including American Express Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Samsung entered a deal to buy LoopPay Inc. last month to help it develop technology for mobile payments. LoopPay makes technology that enables phones to make contactless payments by emulating the transmission of data from a magnetic-stripe card.
The phones, which feature metal bodies and a fingerprint reader for added security, will go on sale in 20 countries starting April 10.
Samsung is trying to regain competitiveness after Apple in September released iPhones with bigger displays, a market segment pioneered by Galaxy S models. The premium Edge model has a screen that extends onto the right and left sides of the phone, adding real estate to access applications and enabling a feature that causes the phone to glow along the edges to alert a user to calls or texts even when placed face down.
We codenamed the project Zero, and what we meant by this was to get back to the fundamentals, David Kang, vice president of marketing at Samsung, said in an interview. Everyone from design, marketing and engineering took a step back.
The S6 models will go on sale worldwide, including China, where consumers wanting bigger devices that perform the roles of phone and tablet computer are flocking to iPhones. That momentum helped propel Apple into a global tie with Samsung in the fourth quarter and helped contribute to a third straight decline in Samsungs quarterly earnings.
The S6 devices will have a 5.1-inch front screen, the same size as the S5. They run on Samsungs own 64-bit chips, which are based on ARM Holdings Plcs architecture, and operate Google Inc.s Android Lollipop software. The camera has 16 megapixels and includes a bright lens that improves nighttime photos.
The phones have high-speed and wireless charging capabilities. Users will get enough power from 10 minutes of charging to watch video for 2 hours, Samsung said.
If you look at the phone, it is a complete evolution, Kang said. Everything from the glass, the colors, the finishing, metal -- it is a total new direction were taking.