New Galaxies make comeback with battery, Samsung Pay

March 2, 2015
Shin Jong-kyun, who heads Samsung Electronics Co.'s mobile business, introduces the Galaxy S6 on March 1, 2015 (Spain time). (Photo courtesy of Samsung Electronics)

Shin Jong-kyun, who heads Samsung Electronics Co.’s mobile business, introduces the Galaxy S6 on March 1, 2015 (Spain time). (Photo courtesy of Samsung Electronics)

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. on Sunday (Spain time) showed off its new Galaxy smartphones that have the industry’s first wireless-charging batteries and a mobile payment system with wider access, key new features that the tech firm hopes will set the handsets apart from its neck-and-neck rivals when they go on the market next month.

The Galaxy S6 comes in a metal and glass frame instead of plastic. It can be charged without cords through an electronic pad, a technological breakthrough that is anticipated to open a new chapter in the global smartphone industry.

The company also introduced the Galaxy S6 Edge, which has curved screens on both sides, an improvement from the previous version which has only one side screen.

The smartphones were showcased at Samsung’s “Unpacked” event ahead of the Mobile World Congress that will be held in Barcelona from Monday to Thursday.

South Korean analysts gave nods to the new design and upped their sales estimates.

NH Investment & Securities Co. gave an estimate of 51 million units for the Galaxy S6, up from 46 million units before the showcase.

“The design of the Galaxy S6 is better than expected,” NH Securities said. “While Samsung failed to get positive responses from the market in terms of design after the Galaxy S3, (the new Galaxy) would be a breakthrough.”

Samsung Securities Co. upgraded its sales outlook to 50 million units from the previous 42 million units. Hana Daetoo Securities Co. also suggested a 50-million-unit sales volume for the new Galaxy.

Shares of Samsung Electronics closed 4.86 percent higher at 1,423,000 won (US$1,293) Monday on South Korea’s main bourse, marking this year’s highest price.

The market opened after the new Galaxy smartphones were shown in Spain. The benchmark KOSPI added 0.55 percent.

While Samsung had championed its detachable batteries as an advantage over Apple Inc.’s iPhones, whose users were jokingly referred to as “wall huggers” who had to stay put near an electric outlet when recharging, the South Korean firm u-turned and opted for a built-in battery for its new model.

Samsung said there is still a difference. Given the new Galaxies’ breakthrough-level charging speed, a 10-minute charge will give the smartphones about four hours of usage, it said.

The non-removable battery has made the Galaxy S6 slimmer, at 6.8 millimeters compared to the Galaxy S5′s 8.1 mm. The Galaxy S6 Edge is now 7.0 mm.

The two models will still support a wire-based charging system, which is estimated to be 50 percent faster compared to the Galaxy S5. The capacity stands at 2,550mAh for the Galaxy S6 and 2,600mAh for the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Samsung added that its smartphones are the first to win certificates from both the Wireless Power Consortium and Power Matters Alliance at the same time.

Samsung Pay, a mobile payment system, also stands out from other competitors. It supports virtually all forms of payment — Near Field Communication (NFC), Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), and barcode technologies. This was made possible after Samsung decided to buy U.S. mobile technology firm LoopPay Inc., which has patent rights related to MST, a payments solution that works with existing magnetic stripe readers.

While Apple is already in the market with Apple Pay, Samsung said during the showcase event that its payment system will tout a wider scope of usage.