Pantech (5125) is known in the United States for its budget-friendly smartphones and tablets, and the company on Monday unveiled its latest handset at CES 2013. The Pantech Discover is equipped with a 4.8-inch 720p display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 12.6-megapixel rear camera. The device also includes 4G LTE and HSPA+ connectivity, NFC, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Keeping with tradition, the Discover won’t break the bank and will be available from AT&T (T) on January 11th for $50 with a new two-year agreement. AT&T and Pantech’s press release follows below. More →
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa announced a new partnership with ISIS on Tuesday. ISIS is a mobile initiative that was formed in April of last year by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless in an effort to help foster the growth of using near-field communications for mobile payments. It’s currently being tested in Salt Lake City and Austin. Tuesday’s announcement means that, as the mobile market moves closer and closer to a time when we can actually use our phones to make tap-and-go payments, consumers will have more payment options. MasterCard also teamed up with Google and Sprint on Google Wallet, which will launch in the future for Android-powered smartphones. We’re not sure why Sprint has held out on joining ISIS, but we hope it jumps on board soon to save consumers from a fragmented mobile payment landscape. Read on for the full press release. More →
On Wednesday, Square’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the firm’s iPhone credit card reader — also supported by the iPad and iPod touch — is now available in all 235 U.S. Apple Store locations, and online, for $9.95. The mobile payment solution allows business owners to quickly charge for products and services wherever they have an iOS device and a data connection. Square accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards, and the company takes a 2.75% cut of every swipe. If you sign up for Square service online, Square says it will send you the first reader for free. More →
We’ve just been tipped that Time Warner Cable has begun emailing users of its iPad application, informing them of a looming channel-lineup change. The app in question — TWCable TV App for iPad — was released on March 15th, and allows TWC subscribers to stream live television right to their tablet device. A very neat feature… for customers. It seems as though several major networks are not all that fond of this customer-centric feature. “While most TV network owners agree with us that this is a great convenience for our customers and their viewers, a few networks disagree,” reads the email. “Unfortunately, that means that channels from network groups Discovery Communications, Fox Cable, and Viacom will be removed from your iPad lineup, effective immediately.” Time Warner notes that Animal Planet, Discovery, TLC, FX, National Geographic, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike, and VH1 will no longer be available. In response, TWC has added 17 national and 3 local “replacement channels.” More →
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that U.S. wireless providers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are working on a joint project that aims to bring a mobile-phone payment system Stateside. Purportedly, the effort is being headed by General Electric executive Michael Abbott and will be financed by Barclays PLC and Discover Financial Services.
“The rare showing of cooperation between three of the four national carriers creates a potentially large base of users for its mobile-payment system,” writes the Journal. “The carriers are eager to move into mobile transactions because it represents a new revenue stream and another feature that gets subscribers spending more time on their phone.”
The report goes on to note that the announcement of the new service’s existence could come as early as today. Mobile payments systems have been in use in Canada and Europe for several years. More →
Bloomberg is reporting that AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless are in talks to bring cellphone based payments to the States. Bloomberg cited, “three people with direct knowledge of the plan,” when they wrote that the three wireless vendors “may work with Discover Financial Services and Barclays Plc to test a system at stores in Atlanta and three other U.S. cities that would let a consumer pay with the contactless wave of a smartphone.” Currently, Visa and MasterCard handle 82% of consumer credit card spending; a $2.45 trillion business. The reported system would see payments processed by Discover’s network (currently the fourth largest credit card network in the U.S.) and Barclays would be the bank managing the accounts. The contactless cellphone payment system is already in use in Japan and the United Kingdom. What do you think? Do you see value in a service like this, or is it more inclined to just creep you out? More →