The new Samsung Galaxy S4 will include 1-D barcode-scanning technology from start-up Mobeam that enables users to scan their handsets at point-of-sale terminals.
Mobeam claims that the vast majority of the world's 165 million POS systems are unable to communicate with smartphones because laser scanners are thwarted by handset' reflective screens, backlit displays, and polarizing filters.
Its patented technology solves the problem by sending pulses of light to the sensor in POS scanners and mimicking the black-and-white sequencing of a standard barcode. Instead of reading the reflection from a printed barcode, laser scanners receive identical information from pulses of light.
The start-up hopes that its workaround, to be incorporated in all Galaxy S4s, will see mobile commerce take off because it negates the need for retailers to install expensive optical scanners or back-end systems.
Instead, customers can wave their S4 over any in-store scanners to redeem mobile coupons, loyalty cards and gift cards.
With about 500 million people around the world expected to receive mobile coupons this year, a 30% increase on 2012, Mobeam says that making it easier to redeem them provides a huge opportunity for retailers.
Chris Sellers, CEO, Mobeam, says: "Making cutting-edge smartphones work with barcodes might not sound sexy, but it means consumers now have the ability to beam items such as coupons, loyalty cards, gift cards and event tickets at millions of locations - something that was previously impossible.
"Barcodes are universal and won't be replaced anytime soon, meaning retailers don't need to upgrade their POS systems. The mobile industry now has a commerce technology that can work everywhere, and the world will see it first on the Samsung Galaxy S4."
Last month Samsung signed a global deal with Visa to embed the card company's PayWave app to support NFC mobile payments into future handsets, including the S4. Future iterations will also see multiple applications from other card schemes and brands pre-loaded alongisde PayWave, says the company.