LG Pay could maybe use your face to send mobile payments

The LG G6 flagship phone's face unlock feature could tie into LG Pay.

Sarah Tew/CNET

We've heard that LG will be releasing its own mobile payment platform on the LG G6 to rival the likes of Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, but it could get a leg up on the competition. LG Pay may use facial recognition as an extra layer of payment authentication, according to The Investor. If this happens, the LG G6 could be the first premium smartphone that can use your face to buy a soda.


Android Pay is already available on LG phones, but LG is planning on releasing their own mobile payment service.

Juan Garzón/CNET

The global mobile payment market is expected to reach over $780 billion (or £624 billion, AU$1.04 trillion) this year, so mobile payments are a pretty big deal. LG plans to get in on the action by releasing its own payment service this year, but it'll have to catch up to the other big brands that already have tens of millions of people on board. But adding facial recognition, a feature that LG's competitors don't have, could help LG Pay stand out.

If this comes to be, security will remain one big question. Apple Pay already uses your fingerprint to authenticate a purchase, while the Galaxy S8 will use both fingerprint and iris scanning for Samsung Pay. While the Galaxy S8 has facial recognition software to unlock the phone, you won't be able to use it to buy goods. Samsung considers it convenient but not secure enough to loop into Samsung Pay.

LG reportedly partnered with Oez, a facial-recognition firm, to add support for recognizing faces. With LG Pay confirmed for a release in Q3, the LG G6 could get facial recognition as early as June -- though we won't officially know if face-unlocking would integrate with LG Pay, or simply be one more way to unlock the LG G6.

LG did not respond to a request for comment.

The LG G6 gives the people what they (mostly) want
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Samsung Galaxy S8 hits launch snag with Bixby voice assistant

While the global version will include the key feature from the get-go, phones coming to the US, Australia and the UK will have to wait a little longer.

Belated Bixby: Virtual assistant not ready for Galaxy S8 launch

Samsung's voice-recognition software will be a no-show when its flagship phone arrives next week in the US. But there is small aspect of the assistant that will be working.

by Bridget Carey
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Don't expect to start talking to Samsung's Bixby voice assistant when you boot up your new Galaxy S8 later this month.

The key feature was expected to debut on the new flagship handset, but the electronics giant is now saying Bixby won't be operational on the US version of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus when they ship to consumers starting April 21.

"Key features of Bixby, including Vision, Home and Reminder, will be available with the global launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 on April 21," Samsung said in a statement. "Bixby Voice will be available in the US on the Galaxy S8 later this spring."

The Samsung software is the latest entrant in the crowded field of digital assistants, which already includes Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, the Google Assistant and Microsoft's Cortana. Every tech heavyweight is investing in these assistants because they're heralded as the future of how we'll interact with our gadgets.

Bixby is one of the marquee features of Samsung's latest flagship phone, and the company is touting it as a more personalized search tool for the device. The Korean consumer electronics giant is banking that positive reception for the Galaxy S8, which sports a sleek design that sheds the home button and slims down the frame for a larger display in a more compact body, will wipe away the bitter taste left from the Galaxy Note 7 incident.

It's unclear how the loss of Bixby at launch will affect sales, since voice assistants don't rank as high for consumers pondering a new phone as other factors such as battery life and camera quality. Samsung said preorders for the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are up double-digits from the early orders for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

Bixby Voice won't be on the launch version in the UK either. "All Bixby functionality, bar the Voice Function, will be available to UK customers at launch. Bixby Voice will be available in US English later this spring, and will expand to more languages globally over time," a Samsung spokesperson in the UK said in a statement.

Likewise, Australians will also need to wait for Samsung's virtual assistant. At the Australian launch of the S8 and S8 Plus, Samsung said Bixby Voice would be coming to Australia "in the coming months." Richard Fink, VP, IT & Mobile Division, Samsung Australia, said that Samsung was working with local language experts to ensure Bixby would be a good experience for Aussies.

The market for voice assistants also hasn't yet gelled, so there's time for Samsung to catch up.

"They are late, but it's still early in the voice assistant marketplace," said Tim Bajarin, president of tech consulting firm Creative Strategies.

In addition, Samsung is taking a different approach from that of its rivals. Instead of being able to answer questions like "What's the weather today," Bixby will help you control your phone. Samsung says you'll be able to do things like tell the phone, "Find a photo of the Sagrada Familia. Send that image to Sally."

The company also envisions Bixby coming to its different array of Samsung devices, popping up in everything from refrigerators to washing machines.

The Galaxy S8 has a button dedicated to Bixby, kind of like a walkie-talkie. It's unclear what that button will do at launch, and a Samsung spokesman wasn't immediately available to comment.

As late as last month, Bixby was still firmly in beta mode. Samsung said it will work on Bixby until the two S8 phones arrive in stores on April 21, and even long after. The company had even warned that Bixby might not come preloaded on the phone -- possibly arriving later as a software update.

Originally published April 11 at 4:44 p.m. PT.
Updated at 4:55 p.m. PT: To include analyst quote and additional background.

Updated on April 12 at 5:14 p.m. PT: To include Australian release information.

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