Samsung unveils two new jumbo-size phones in a new effort to battle Apple for smartphone sales. Plus, Samsung offers its own mobile pay system.

A Q&A examines how it compares to Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Samsung,s new Android smartphones with jumbo screens are an attempt to recapture some of the sales lost to Apple after larger iPhones came out last year.

Samsung said Thursday that the new Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus will start shipping Aug. 21 in the U.S. and Canada. Usually, Note phones don’t come out until well after Apple’s new iPhone models in September.

The timing reflects a shift in fortunes for a company that pioneered jumbo phones with the original Note in 2011. Now, Samsung needs to beat Apple to the punch, or risk seeing its products drowned out by all the attention on the iPhone, IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said.

The new phones from Samsung have screens measuring 5.7 inches diagonally, the same as last year’s Note 4, yet both are lighter and thinner. They are comparable to Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the larger of the two new iPhones. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones, which are closer in size to the regular iPhone 6, came out in April.

The Note 5 will cost $696 to $740 without a contract, depending on the carrier. The Edge Plus will cost about $75 more. The iPhone 6 Plus sells for about $750. T-Mobile is throwing in a year of Netflix with both phones, while Sprint is giving away a low-end Samsung tablet with a two-year contract. Advance orders begin in the U.S. on Thursday.

Samsung Electronics Co. also said its Samsung Pay mobile payment service will debut in its home country of South Korea on Aug. 20. Testing in the U.S. will begin Aug. 25, with a formal launch on Sept. 28.

Q&A: A look at Samsung Pay, other mobile payments

Samsung is hoping its new mobile-payment service will let you leave your wallet at home.

It’s a claim Samsung Pay’s rivals — Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay â€” aren’t able to make because they work with fewer merchants. Those rival services require merchants to have newer payment equipment with wireless technology known as near-field communication, or NFC.

Samsung Pay can mimic the old-school, magnetic signals produced by card swipes. That means it should work with most existing equipment.

Nonetheless, most people won’t leave their wallets home anytime soon. Plastic credit and debit cards aren’t difficult to carry around and hand over, so there isn’t an urgency to sign up for any of these services. And while Samsung Pay works with more merchants, acceptance isn’t universal because of technical and behavioral constraints.

Samsung Pay will debut in South Korea on Aug. 20. It will start in the U.S. on Sept. 28, with a test period beginning Aug. 25. Samsung plans to expand to the U.K., Spain and China as well. Android Pay will come out later this year in the U.S., while Apple Paylaunched in the U.S. last October and expanded to the U.K. last month.

Here’s a closer look at Samsung Pay and how it compares with Apple Pay and AndroidPay.


Although taking out plastic isn’t difficult, using the phone is more convenient if you already have it out — say, to check Facebook while waiting in line. It’s also great in cabs: When you pull out your wallet late at night, your keys might accidentally slip out.

The bigger advantage is security. With all three services, you’re assigned a substitute card number unique to the phone. The store gets this number, so if its system gets hacked, your main card number isn’t compromised. To work, the substitute number must be paired with a one-time code generated by that device. Hackers getting that number will also need physical possession of your phone.


Because Apple Pay and Android Pay require NFC payment equipment, there’s a good chance it won’t work where you’re trying to buy something. Samsung Pay’s magnetic technology serves as a backup. You don’t need to worry about what your merchant has. The phone figures it out automatically.

Despite promises of wide acceptance with the magnetic technology, Samsung Pay won’t be universal. You’re not likely to give the waiter your phone — let alone your passcode — to pay the check at a restaurant. The technology also won’t work where you need to insert your card into a machine, such as gas pumps and ticket kiosks.


The company says it won’t get any direct revenue from transactions. However, it is hoping the service will be compelling enough for people to choose a Samsung phone over a rival’s.


When you’re ready to pay, just swipe up from the bottom to see a list of your cards. The card you used most recently is there by default, though you can swipe left or right to choose another card. You hold the phone near the store’s payment terminal and place your finger over the home button to authorize the transaction with your fingerprint.

This can be done whether you’re on the lock screen or the home screen, or if the screen is off (but the phone is on). If you’re in an app such as Facebook, you need to get to the home screen first. That’s one big difference with Apple Pay, which works from any app and doesn’t require the initial swipe up. Android Pay will work like Apple Pay, except it won’t work with the screen off.


The service will initially work with just four Samsung phones — the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge from this spring and the upcoming Note 5 or S6 Edge Plus. Android Pay will work with a broader range of Android devices — those with an NFC chip and at least the KitKat version of Android, which came out in 2013. That includes these four Samsung phones.

Your card also needs to be from a bank that has signed on. A full list isn’t available yet, but it will include cards from Bank of America, Chase, Citi and U.S. Bank, along with scores of store-branded cards, including Sleepy’s and PC Richard.


Samsung Pay will work with a broader range of merchants. On the other hand, it’s for in-store use only.

Android Pay can be used within selected apps for online transactions, so you don’t have to re-enter card numbers and shipping addresses. You also have security from sharing just the substitute number. Apple Pay has in-app support, too, but Samsung Pay does not.

Samsung Pay will also take a few more steps to use. With NFC, the phone can detect when it’s near a payment terminal and automatically launch the payment service. Because Samsung Pay has a magnetic component, which is a one-way technology, you need to activate it first by swiping from the bottom.


Apple Pay has a head start and will still be the only service to work on iPhones and the Apple Watch. More competition might promote greater acceptance of mobile payment in general, as it’s a concept not familiar yet to most consumers and merchants.

Although there’s competition from Apple Pay and Google’s upcoming Android Pay, Samsung is hoping its payments system will catch on with the inclusion of a technology that mimics the old-school, magnetic signals from credit-card swipes. That allows it to work with a wider range of merchants, though it still won’t work everywhere cards are accepted.

Samsung also teased an upcoming smartwatch, the Gear S2. It will have a round face, rather than the rectangular design in Apple Watch and previous Samsung watches. A video from Samsung suggests snazzy graphics to rival Apple Watch. More details will come at the IFA tech show in Berlin next month.

As for the phones, Samsung is looking to play to its strengths.


Though it appeals to a niche audience, the Note is popular for including a stylus to take notes and annotate images on the screen. The update provides quicker access to apps and features that use the stylus. A clicking mechanism makes the stylus easier to pull out.

One new feature ends the need to print out and rescan electronic forms to sign or fill out. Just write on the PDF document directly before saving and sending.

Screenshots can get annoying when you’re just snapping what’s visible on the screen. An article or list of directions you’re trying to save might take four or five shots. A new feature called scroll capture combines all those shots into one image, though you still need to snap them one section at a time.


The screens on Samsung’s Edge phones are curved on both sides. The feature proved popular in this spring’s S6 Edge, which used one of those sides for quick access to friends and other frequent contacts. Now, you can use it for quick access to favorite apps, too.

There won’t be a stylus, though, as last year’s Note Edge phone had.


The new phones incorporate the improved camera technology found in this spring’s S6 phones. Added is live streaming of video you’re capturing, a practice made popular by Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope apps. Samsung’s video will appear on YouTube. The front cameras take sharper selfies, at 5 megapixels rather than 3.7.

The new phones also borrow design elements from the S6. They sport aluminum frames and glass backs rather than plastic. The back of the Note 5 is slightly curved for a better grip, while the Edge gets its curve on the front. Either way, it doesn’t feel as boxy as the regular S6.

Borrowing another page from Apple’s playbook, the phones are coming out just a week after they are announced. It used to take Samsung a month or longer.


After the larger iPhones came out, Samsung could no longer proclaim to have “The Next Big Thing.”

The S6 phones this spring emphasized design instead, but sales fell below expectations, as Apple dominated the high-end market. Meanwhile, rival Android phone makers have been able to offer decent cameras, displays and speeds for less money than Samsung phones. Although it’s still the leading smartphone maker, Samsung has reported five consecutive quarters of profit decline.

“There’s an urgency to show that Samsung can still stand up to the challenge that is Apple and everybody else out there,” Llamas said. “For a while, Samsung was the ‘be all and end all’ of Android devices. Now, it’s a different market.”