Samsung has unveiled a new Wallet API, SDK and consumer app at its Mobile World Congress developer conference, designed to take on existing solutions from Apple and others. The Wallet app bears more than a passing resemblance to Passbook, which Apple introduced on iOS 6, but Samsung is looking beyond just the similarities. To that end, it is opening up a Wallet API in beta for developers to add functionality to their apps and services; launch partners include Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Lufthansa.
There is no NFC support initially, but Samsung hasn’t ruled out the option of adding it down the road; it claims there is reluctance from retailers in implementing NFC since it rarely works with existing POS infrastructures.
Samsung Wallet will, like Passbook, detect where you are and push coupons, loyalty cards and tickets to your lock screen; it will eventually be used to facilitate payments as well.
The initial rollout for developers begins in March and, as with Passbook, we should see some excitement from partners wanting to take advantage of such a service from the biggest Android OEM on the planet.