Samsung on Wednesday unveiled its new Samsung Wallet app for storing boarding passes, coupons, event tickets and membership cards, similar to the Passbook app for iPhone, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Samsung Wallet provides both time- and location-based push notifications, as Passbook does, along with real-time updates for any membership or boarding pass changes.
Samsung has opened up Wallet to developers for integration within third-party apps, but the South Korean consumer electronics maker will have the final word on approval. Again, much like Passbook, Samsung Wallet does not offer NFC tap-to-pay features; however, the possibility remains, since many Samsung devices have built-in NFC functionality and the company has a new partnership with Visa.
Samsung Wallet is currently available as a developer preview, with downloadable SDK and API guides, but should be available to the general public in the near future. At launch, Samsung announced that Wallet will have partnerships with major brands such as Walgreens, Belly, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com and Lufthansa. More partnerships will follow.
On a related note, it is worth noting that Samsung has returned to copying Apple with its new Wallet app. The app itself functions essentially the same as Passbook, shares a similar user interface and even has an almost identical-looking icon. Samsung gets zero points for creativity here, as they have neglected to return to the drawing board and instead chose to deliberately copy Apple, again.