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Archive: News in brief

Line Pay launches in-app taxi service in Tokyo

January 9th, 2015

Japanese instant messaging giant Line has launched a taxi service in Tokyo that lets users of its app summon a cab provided by Nihon Kotsu, the largest taxi limousine rental company in the country, and pay for it using Line Pay. Line Pay was unveiled in October 2014 as a mobile payment solution for in-store, online and bill-splitting and was launched in December.

Nedbank tests BLE mobile payments app

January 9th, 2015

South Africa’s Nedbank is internally testing a proof-of-concept mobile payments app called Accolades that uses BLE beacons to connect customers to retailers as they enter the store. “In concept, the app would provide the product list or menu of the participating store, letting customers select the product and quantity and check it out in their mobile shopping cart without queues,” BusinessTech reports.

Audi unlocks car with NFC smartwatch

January 8th, 2015

Audi has shown off a smartwatch that can be used to communicate with and unlock a car via NFC at the CES in Las Vegas. The watch is made by LG, says Android Central, and was introduced at a launch event as a means of unlocking the car-maker’s A7-based, ‘piloted driving’ Prologue concept car.

Toshiba puts NFC on memory cards

January 8th, 2015

Toshiba has added NFC to a SDHC memory card, allowing consumers to check the card’s contents by tapping it against their NFC phone instead of plugging it into a PC or digital camera. An Android app allows users to see previews of images stored on the card as well as the amount of free space available. The card will be available in 8, 16 and 32GB versions from February 2015.

Kontakt.io puts on $1m beacon hunt at CES

January 7th, 2015

Beacon solution provider Kontakt.io is hosting a Bluetooth-based treasure hunt with a million dollar prize at the CES in Las Vegas. Show visitors can download the $1m Beacon Hunt app and look for Bluetooth beacons hidden throughout the North, Center and South halls. “Anyone can download the app from the Android or iOS app stores, and can check out the 24 hints to get 24 chances to win the big prize,” the company explains.

Circle adds NFC to Bitcoin payments app

January 7th, 2015

Bitcoin wallet provider Circle has added NFC to its Android app to enable users to make payments using the digital currency with a tap of their smartphone. “Using this NFC integration, Circle customers can tap to pay when checking out with the app at physical locations where Bitcoin is accepted,” the company explains. “Since our friends at BitPay have also enabled NFC, thousands of merchant locations worldwide will support this feature.”

Broadcom unveils NFC chip for cars

January 6th, 2015

Broadcom has introduced an automotive-grade NFC controller designed to be built into vehicles to simplify set-up for mobile device connectivity and enable solutions such as keyless entry. The BCM89095 meets the special requirements of the automotive industry, which include extreme temperature tolerance and multiple sets of international manufacturing guidelines. The low-power chip supports reader/writer, P2P and card emulation modes.

US mall operator tests BLE beacons

January 6th, 2015

US mall operator Taubman is piloting BLE beacons for an indoor navigation service at its Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, Florida, with plans to roll out the platform to other properties throughout the year. The platform is powered by Spreo and works in conjunction with a The Mall at UTC mobile app. Taubman owns, manages and leases 21 regional, super-regional and outlet shopping centres in the US and Asia.

CES gets BLE beacons

January 5th, 2015

Visitors at this year’s International CES in Las Vegas will be guided around the mammoth tradeshow with their smartphones and Bluetooth beacons provided by Radius Networks. “Through the CES app, users can select a CES destination such as an exhibitor booth,” the organisers explain. “The app will then show directions from the current position using the BLE beacons placed throughout the show floor.” The navigation system covers an area estimated at four million square feet.

Apple Pay accounts for 1% of US digital spend in November

January 5th, 2015

Apple Pay accounted for 1% of all US digital spend in November 2014 just a month after its launch, research from ITG has revealed. The top five Apple Pay retailers included Whole Foods Market with 20% of all transactions made using Apple Pay, Walgreens (19%), McDonald’s (11%), Panera Bread (6%) and Subway (3%).

UK banks cautious in Apple Pay talks

January 5th, 2015

Britain’s top banks are in talks with Apple to introduce Apple Pay in the first half of this year, but negotiations have proved difficult due to concerns around the amount of personal and financial information Apple can collect about its customers. “Some executives fear Apple Pay and the data it delivers to Apple could serve as a beachhead for an invasion of the banking industry,” The Telegraph reports.

Fime gets NFC Forum analog testing qualification

January 5th, 2015

NFC testing specialist Fime has announced its labs in Asia, EMEA and Korea have been qualified to perform NFC Forum analog certification testing. “These Fime laboratories are now authorised to perform all forms of NFC Forum certification testing, covering analog, digital, logical link control protocol and simple NDEF exchange protocol (SNEP),” the company explains.

BMW uses NFC for print advertising

January 5th, 2015

Car maker BMW has embedded NFC tags in a four-page advertisement for its i3 and i8 models in German magazine Spiegel Wissen. “Tapping a smartphone once on the advert instantly downloads the BMW i-app,” platform provider Tamoco explains. “Customers interacting with the print ad are directed to the most relevant content based on which operating system they use or how often they have tapped the ad previously.”

Mozido buys CorFire

December 19th, 2014

Cloud-based mobile payments platform provider Mozido has acquired the majority ownership of mobile commerce specialist CorFire, previously wholly-owned by South Korean IT services provider SK C&C. “By adding [Corfire’s] strength in NFC-enabled mobile wallets to Mozido’s extensive mobile financial services and retail marketing capabilities, we can now give merchants around the world access to a powerful mobile ecosystem,” says Mozido’s Michael Liberty.

Touch ID patent adds fingertip motion

December 19th, 2014

Future iPhones may use a combination of Touch ID and fingertip motion to protect access, a recent Apple patent application has revealed. “An electronic device may include a finger biometric sensor, a display and a processor coupled to the finger biometric sensor and the display,” the filing explains. The patent application goes on to explain how a phone could be partially unlocked by drawing the correct pattern on the fingerprint sensor, or fully on providing a biometric match.

Brixton Pound to add NFC

December 19th, 2014

Brixton Pound (B£), a local currency designed to encourage consumers to spend in independent businesses, is to launch an NFC ‘tap and pay’ service in 2015. “The currency will implement contactless payment terminals for B£ businesses and traders, which will further speed and simplify payments,” the organisation says. The service currently lets Brixton residents make payments via Bluetooth beacons or pay-by-text.

Mobile barcode scanning booms

December 17th, 2014

Consumers scanned more than 4.5m barcodes with Scandit-powered mobile shopping apps this Black Friday, the company has revealed, “with some US-based apps experiencing as much as 40 times increase over last year”. Total scan volumes across mobile apps that utilise Scandit “more than doubled year-over-year.”

Iowa to launch mobile driving license

December 17th, 2014

The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) in the US is developing a smartphone-based driver’s license using an app that would co-exist with traditional plastic cards, WSJ reports. How the service will work and when it will be launched remain unclear however, due to concerns surrounding privacy and security. Iowa DOT is now focusing on working out how police and transportation officers will be able to interact with the mobile licenses and on ways to prevent fakes.

Line Pay makes debut

December 17th, 2014

Line Pay, the mobile payments service unveiled in October by Tokyo-based instant messaging service Line, has made its global debut with the release of version 4.8.0 of the Line app. “At the first stage of its release, Line Pay will only support payments on Line Store,” the company explains. “Select Line Pay when paying on Line Store to open the Line Pay service, then simply select a credit card to pay with to complete the purchase.”

Google Wallet adds Touch ID

December 17th, 2014

The iOS version of Google Wallet now enables users to use Touch ID fingerprint verification for “secure and quick access” to the mobile wallet. Google Wallet 8.0 for iOS also lets consumers divide the cost of any transaction through a split the check function.

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