Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we cover the launch of Samsung Galaxy S6 phones, Google’s plans for a wireless service, and the impending arrival of HBO Now.
Samsung launches Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge with LoopPay
Samsung got crushed in 2014 and the company is looking for a comeback. The launch of the S6 and S6 Edge might just be the kickstart Samsung needs to get back on track.
Samsung announced their new flagship phones at the Mobile World Congress to much fanfare. Gone are the cheap plastic materials and boring design of past Galaxy phones. The S6 and S6 Edge have been completely redesigned from the ground up with curved edges, metal frames, Gorilla glass on the front and back, and more. The phone finally looks and feels like it’s worth its premium price tag.
What may be more important is that these phones will come equipped with LoopPay, Samsung’s new mobile payments system. LoopPay has some features, such as Magnetic Secure Transmission technology that allows users to make payments at almost all card acceptance points, that Apple Pay doesn’t.
Google confirms plans for wireless service
Google confirmed at the Mobile World Congress that they are indeed working on developing a wireless service.
The company’s SVP of Android, Chrome, and Mobile Apps, Sundar Pichai, said that the wireless service will only serve a small segment of customers and won’t go head-to-head against mobile carrier powerhouses Verizon and AT&T.
With this move, Google is looking to have a hand in all aspects of mobile. They’ve built the Android mobile operating system, got into hardware with their Nexus phones, and are now developing the connectivity aspect with its wireless offering.
For now, mobile carriers shouldn’t be worried. But Google’s experiments tend to turn into big, industry-changing initiatives, so Verizon and AT&T should keep a close eye on this project.
HBO Now to launch in mid-April
HBO’s over the top streaming service, HBO Now, is expected to launch in mid-April just in time for the premiere of Game of Thrones.
HBO Now will allow viewers to access HBO programming without subscribing to a cable, satellite or telecommunications TV service like Comcast, DirecTV, or Verizon FiOS. The cost for HBO Now is expected to be around $15 per month, which is about what current subscribers pay to access HBO through a cable provider, and quite a bit more expensive than Netflix’s cost of $8-12 per month.
HBO will work with various distributors such as Apple TV, Roku, Xbox and more to market and push the service out to the masses. With the clout that HBO has over cable subscribers, companies like Comcast and Cablevision should be very worried about their subscribers cutting the cord.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.