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The last day of the mobile-fest that is Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and Samsung have announced a mobile wallet app for users to keep all their coupons, vouchers, tickets and membership cards in one place.
When Apple launched Passbook there was excitement in the air (for all of 24 hours), at the thought that this was the mobile manufacturer's first tentative steps into the domain of NFC and mobile payments.
A safe option is to start with mobile couponing wallet, similar to Passbook, which is what Samsung has launched today at MWC. However, these schemes are only as good as the volume of partners and brands involved.
What is the point in having my Starbucks points in my mobile wallet, if my Costa card isn't? (Although, in regards to Starbucks, what's the point in having a mobile strategy with a postal service for your coupons?) But I digress...
The same goes for flights, it's great to have my Lufthansa boarding card on my mobile ready to scan at the gate, but what if the following week I travel with a budget airline which doesn't? The CO2 I huff and puff while riffling through my draws for my travel wallet would probably equate to the CO2 I'm plunging into the atmosphere. But I digress again...
Samsung partners so far include: Belly, Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Lufthansa and Major League Baseball Advanced Media - that's not going to get you far in day-to-day life without your wallet? However, the company did say that they were still in development, so we can keep our eyes peeled for more announcements which will later go unnoticed as they won't make enough noise in the industry on their own.
I understand that the concept of the "mobile wallet" doesn't necessarily mean leaving your traditional wallet at home (yet!), but surely we should be aiming high for that type of lifestyle, knowing that we will fall short, to what will hopefully be a happy medium with plenty of brands to choose from.
I know these things take time, but in the UK we're already so far behind in the realms of NFC, it actually seems like science fiction rather than possibility.
Early this week at MWC, Visa announced a partnership with Samsung to accelerate mobile NFC payments.
Visa will include its payWave NFC applet on the next generation of Samsung NFC-enabled handsets. As part of the alliance, Visa will also partner with financial institutions to push forward global mobile payment solutions.
Maybe we're starting to get somewhere after this week, but until then, pass me my Radley purse.
Pop the piece of plastic on the end of your finger tip and make sure you practise for a little while. It's a bit tricky to get the angle right in order to make a connection with the screen, but these Tech Tips from a US start-up company try to compensate for sloppy handwriting and difficulties when clicking on tiny webpage links while using your smart device.
This fairly good idea, if not quite implemented as well as I would have liked, trying the tips out on my iPhone with a screen protector, proved a little sluggish (see video). My colleague tried them on a Samsung Galaxy S3, which worked considerably better, however the hard keys at the bottom of the device - which still require sensitivity to work - didn't work as well as your actual finger when being used with the Tech Tips.
The tip of your finger gets a bit sweaty from the plastic and it is not that precise when writing - so my handwriting wasn't great, but it was better than when using your finger tip.
However, it is great when you're on a website which has not been optimised for mobile use and the hyperlinks are really tricky to select with the pad of your finger.
Another problem is, how do you measure your finger tips to know what size to ask for, small, medium or large?
Capacitive touchscreens do not actually detect touch, but instead detect the presence of an electrically conductive object. Tech Tips have included this technology into small pieces of plastic to produce an electrical conductor that smart devices will recognise.
The company is looking to have discussions with UK distributors in the coming weeks, and Tech Tips will also be available on Amazon within the months.
At this point the individual retail cost for a single Tech Tip stylus is $3.49n (£2.17) and $9.99 (£6.21) for a multi-pack of four.
The company has also demonstrated Nano Nails - fake nails which include this technology. I don't wear fake nails myself, but I can see these as a really great idea that could take off as my friends tell me how difficult it is to use their phones when wearing ludicrously long pieces of plastic.
Image: Tech Tips Nano Nails
Still in beta mode, the Nano Nail doesn't have official pricing as yet, however, they are expected to be around $10-12 (around £7) for 4-5 pack of nails. The company is currently still in the process of testing out the technology, for instance a set of nails which were worn for a week needed touching up with the nail polish, and Tech Tips is currently looking to see how the technology withstands to nail polish remover.
Sony has unveiled its new flagship smartphone handset at CES in Las Vegas, the Xperia Z. The smartphone comes with a full HD screen, Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor and it comes ready for 4G use.
It is also waterproof, so no need to worry about sending text messages from the confines of the tub. Sony claims the device will survive in up to one metre of water for 30 minutes, which would come in handy when you want to clean your phone - just rinse it in the sink.
The device screen is 5-inches, which borders on the phablet territory of the Samsung Galaxy Note, which stands at 5.5-inches. This is a screen increase of 0.4-inches from its predecessor, again being another screen in CES to be increasing in size rather than shrinking.
Despite its larger size, the device is nice and slim and feels great held in the hand. Its predecessor, the James Bond 007 device, aka the Xperia T, had a scalloped back panel and a matte finish. The scalloped back is now gone and the Z also goes back to preferring shine and fingerprints - I think this makes it classier and more modern looking.
This picture shows the Xperia T on the left and the Xperia Z on the right
The device also features NFC, opening up possibilities of the mobile wallet (once banks get their acts together to enable a service). While you wait for that to happen, you can use the device to eliminate wires while enjoying music, one tap and you can connect to headphones or your home entertainment system.
Sony has included a few overlays to the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system that it runs on, such as hold the homescreen button to skip straight to Google, and quick start buttons for apps of your choice, such as notes.
Additionally, Sony has included a nice feature for quickly browsing images from your gallery while still on the homescreen - Timescape allows you to flick through images to easily access the one you need quickly.
This version of Android's operating system comes with Office Suite and I found the keyboard of the Z comfortable to type with.
Sony is hoping to regain some traction in the market, but will this device take attention away from Samsung and Apple? From my short-lived hands on experience, it's nice enough, but I don't think it has as many selling points as the flagship devices of its competitors to make a noise in the market.
The device is also available in as the Xperia ZL with a lower screen resolution and a matte finish on the backing. This is also not water resistant.