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Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and Note 5 to hit stores Aug. 21 (with video)

Matt Hamblen | Aug. 14, 2015
As expected, Samsung on Thursday announced a new Galaxy Note 5 phablet and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus smartphone, both with 5.7-in. displays.

Samsung introduced both its new devices by noting that it first pioneered larger screen smartphones in 2011 with the original Galaxy Note.

Samsung postponed a full announcement of its latest round-faced smartwatch until Sept. 3 at the IFA trade show in Berlin. Samsung flashed photos during a presentation in New York that was webcast showing the device with the name, "Gear S2" instead of the Tizen-powered Gear A as rumored.

Samsung Pay

Samsung Electronics CEO J.K. Shin also announced the Samsung Pay mobile payment solution will debut in Korea on Aug. 20 and in the U.S. on Sept. 28.

Samsung Pay will work in the two new Samsung phones with in-store terminals that have Near Field Communication (like Apple Pay and others) as well as older magnetic stripe readers and barcode scanners -- technologies that will greatly expand its use in many places. "It's simple, safe and accepted virtually anywhere," said Injong Rhee, executive vice president of Samsung Pay.

Samsung Pay also works in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, which first shipped in April. To work with magnetic stripe terminals, the latest Samsung phones have a copper ring embedded that provides magnetic transmission technology that Samsung acquired from startup LoopPay.

Despite Samsung's enthusiasm for Samsung Pay, customers don't choose a smartphone based on its ability to make mobile payments. "Samsung Pay is more about keeping customers versus winning over customers, giving users who might want mobile payments a reason not to go over to Apple. Remember, mobile payment thus far is not something people have craved for in phones." Milanesi noted.

Samsung also showed a combination physical keyboard and cover, aptly dubbed the Keyboard Cover, for the Note 5 that will ship at a later date. In addition to the Note 5's SPen digital stylus, Milanesi called the Keyboard Cover "slightly confusing." She added, "if you buy the device because of the SPen, then the keyboard is not something you need or want."

James Moar, an analyst at Juniper Research, noted that the absence of a stylus in the Edge Plus shows it is more of a device for consuming media, games and other content than it is for creating content. "They are trying to be more friendly to general consumers," he said, while noting that there are already "quite a few consumer phablets to choose from."

Samsung said both of its devices will benefit from a new wireless charging device that will decrease charging time to two hours on both devices, down from three hours. Details on the wireless charging device weren't immediately available.

In other details, Sprint will sell the 32GB Edge Plus with a two-year service agreement for $349.99, and $449.99 for the 64GB version. The 32GB Note 5 will sell for $249.99 with a contract, and $349.99 for the 64GB version.


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