Samsung Galaxy S5 (U.S. Cellular)
Samsung today confirmed it will close its Music Hub and e-book store on July 1. The Music Hub served alongside the Samsung Hub - which sold music, videos, books, games, and educational content - on last year's Galaxy S4 handset. The Music Hub was a full music store, much like Google Play Music or the Amazon MP3 Store. It allowed users to buy individual tracks and albums. The same was true of the e-book store, which duplicated Google's own offering, in addition to those of other providers, such as Amazon. Samsung didn't explain the rationale behind its decision to shutter the music and e-book stores other than to say it was "striving for service differentiation and customer value enhancement." The Samsung Hub itself will also go away, and is no longer preinstalled on this year's Galaxy S5. Instead, Samsung's surviving services - movies, games, and educational content - will remain available as stand-alone apps. Samsung's music and e-book services will still be available to consumers in its home market of Korea.
Samsung today announced that its second-generation business security suite is now available to the Galaxy S5. One of the core features of the improved software is support for split billing. Knox 2.0 can determine the amount of monthly data used by personal apps and the data used by business apps and split the bill so businesses only have to pay for the portion generated by actual work. Knox 2.0 also improves compatibility with other applications so they can be secured or sandboxed. The suite has a new series of cloud-based services, as well, such as a dedicated store for enterprise applications, and tools for IT to manage and control employee devices. Knox 2.0 is only available to the GS5, but Samsung said it will become available to more Galaxy devices in the months ahead. Samsung created Knox to help generate more appeal for its devices within businesses. It competes with BlackBerry's BES product.
PayPal today made a new version of its mobile app available explicitly for the Samsung Galaxy S5. The app, first announced in February, lets GS5 owners make payments across the web by swiping their finger on the GS5's fingerprint sensor. PayPal says the feature can be used with most online merchants and mobile apps that accept PayPal, in addition to select retail stores. Further, PayPal launched a separate app for Samsung's Gear 2 and Gear Fit smartwatches. The watch-based app lets people save and redeem offers, check their balance, receive payment notifications, and check-in at local stores. Both the smartphone and smartwatch apps are free to download.
U.S. Cellular today announced that its variant of the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be available for preorder beginning March 21. The device will reach stores April 11. It will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract. U.S. Cellular is offering $50 in Google Play Store credit to those who preorder the phone. The Gear 2 and Gear Fit wearable devices will also go on sale April 11.