As usual, Samsung is too late to the (mobile payments) party. Not because of Apple, but because of Google - read this fantastic piece by Tom Noyes whom I greatly respect (although Will, CEO of LoopPay
that was bought out by Samsung, has some valid points too...)
Samsung is not a pushover, and will continue muscling in, because they still don't understand how Apple can come to an established market and rule it (portable music, smartphones). Samsung, it's about creative re-invention, not bland copying (not that Apple
doesn't steal good ideas...)
In early 2014, I had a meeting with key decision makers at Samsung to discuss smartwatch - some of you may recall that I described all the current and some future functions of Apple Watch back
in March 2013... I was preaching to Samsung the mantra of "one step ahead" - the launch of Apple Pay was imminent, but Apple Watch was still many months away. Samsung had a great smartwatch platform that could have been quickly and easily adopted for mobile
payments. In a way better than Apple Watch does now.
Yet, Samsung didn't listen. Instead of a fingerprint sensor, they added a camera (watching too many James Bond movies could produce weird side effects... just kidding). Instead of the most frequently used mass market function (payments), they focused on
using a smartwatch as a phone.
It's not too late to beat Apple at their own game. After several weeks of using Apple Watch, I still fail to find it even remotely useful in my case. That's even before we start discussing the
FACT: Apple will not touch the global transit market at least for another couple of years (is that Tim Cook calling?..), for many - bad - reasons.
FACT: Samsung is very popular in countries with the largest penetration of smart transit. (US is not one of them)
ACTION: Combine mass transit and payments in a functional smartwatch (cutting the umbilical cord with the phone as Apple Watch 2.0 will do), and you have a money printing machine.
How do you add mass transit function on a global scale? Talk to the company that does that for a living (cannot say more as self-promotion is not allowed at Finextra).