Samsung is preparing to roll out Near Field Communication technology for the spinoff of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S3 Mini. The company announced plans to bring this feature to its recently launched 4-inch handset on Monday, and we should expect to see it go on sale in the United Kingdom by the end of January.
This altered version of the third-generation Galaxy S phone will add support for abilities such as Samsung’s S Beam, which combines NFC with WiFi-Direct for faster data transfers. This means S Beam can generate a WiFi-Direct connection between the smartphone and another compatible device, allowing for a speedy transfer of music, videos and other types of media content. According to Samsung, a music file as large as 10MB can be transferred using this technology.
In addition to facilitating data transfers, NFC is largely used for mobile payment services. These mobile wallet features do exactly what the name implies—they let users make payments through supporting vendors via their mobile phones. Samsung hasn’t mentioned any particular brands that would be working with its Galaxy S3 Mini for mobile payment services, but it did tout its NFC capabilities during this summer’s London Olympics.
As part of a joint effort between Visa and Lloyds TSB Bank, athletes received Galaxy S3 smartphones to make purchases via Visa’s mobile payment app known as payWave. With this app, Olympians were able to make digital purchases at NFC terminals across London.
“NFC technology and the digital wallet started to gain significant traction in 2012, particularly in the run up to the Olympics,” Simon Stanford, vice president of Samsung’s UK telecommunications and networks unit, said according to ZDNet. “It’s an exciting time in the mobile market watching the next phase of its evolution take shape, so we’re happy to announce that we are bringing these new experiences to our customers through our growing number of NFC-enabled devices.”
With this NFC rollout, Samsung is attempting to mirror the full Galaxy S3 experience with its miniature edition that launched in November. The Galaxy S3 Mini comes with Android 4.1 right out of the box, a 1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor, and a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 400x800 pixel density. It also comes complete with Wi-Fi capabilities and Bluetooth 4.0. While some may have called the Galaxy S3 Mini lackluster, it seems to embody exactly what Samsung promised--- a watered down version of the S3.
It’s meant to be a low-cost alternative to the company’s flagship smartphone, similar to what Apple is rumored to release sometime in the near future. The Galaxy S3 Mini is currently selling in the UK for around £300, whereas the standard Galaxy S3 will run you about £480.
There’s been no word on whether or not the Galaxy S3 Mini will make its way to the United States, but like its predecessor the smaller version is available in an array of colors. There’s also no word on pricing or specific availability for the NFC enabled edition of the miniature handset.