Curve, the ‘over-the-top’ banking platform, adds support for Samsung Pay

Curve, the London-based “over-the-top banking platform,” has added support for Samsung Pay in the U.K., making it easy for Samsung smartphone owners to pay using their mobile phone, regardless of who they bank with.

The new feature is enabled by Curve’s ability to consolidate all of your bank cards into a single Curve card. This means that once you register your Curve card with the Samsung Pay app, you can link any of your other Mastercard and Visa debit or credit cards too.

That’s potentially quite significant for Samsung customers because of the lack of Samsung Pay support from many of the major banks who prefer instead to build NFC-enabled payments into their own banking apps.

Unlike Apple, which tightly controls the iPhone’s NFC technology and therefore arguably forces banks to work with them, the NFC tech in Samsung and other Android phones can be accessed by third-party developers. This means there is less incentive for banks to support competing NFC apps, including digital wallets such as Samsung Pay and Google Pay.

Related to this, I’m hearing from sources that Curve may be adding support for Google Pay in the coming weeks. Apple Pay is also known to be in the works. The company declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the roll out of Samsung Pay follows Curve’s $ 55 million Series B round announced in June, which valued the company at $ 250 million. At the time, Curve said it would use the new capital to continue adding more features to its platform and for further European expansion.

Like a plethora of fintech startups, Curve wants to turn your mobile phone into a financial control centre that re-bundles disparate financial products or functionality to offer a single app to help you manage “all things money.”

However, rather than building a new current account — as is the case with the challenger banks such as Monzo, Starling and Revolut — Curve’s “attack vector” is a card and app that lets you connect all of your other debit and credit cards so you only ever have to carry a single card.

Now with Samsung Pay support, for NFC-enabled purchases you only need to carry your Samsung phone.

Android – TechCrunch

SiriusXM picks up voice control support on Google/Nest devices

Good news, satellite radio fans: SiriusXM is getting a bit easier to control on your various Google Home and Nest Mini speakers.

The streaming radio network is at long last getting support for Google Assistant, allowing you to say things like “Hey Google, play 90s on 9” and have the station start right up.

While SiriusXM has technically been compatible with these speakers for awhile, getting it to play meant poking around the mobile app and sending your desired station over via Chromecast. With this update, all it takes is a voice command.

Google says the SiriusXM functionality should start rolling out this week. It’ll roll out in the U.S. and Canada first, initially supporting English and later supporting Canadian French.

Getting any of this to work, of course, means having a SiriusXM subscription. As such, Google says that all Nest speakers and smart displays will include a three-month SiriusXM trial out of the box. (Just don’t forget to set that calendar reminder in case you want to cancel.)

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Duet adds Android tablet support for its second screen app

Sidecar is great. It’s my favorite software thing Apple has introduced in years. I’m using it right now, as I type this, in fact. For a handle of app developers, however, the feature’s arrival with macOS Catalina was an expected, but still potentially devastating piece of news. We spoke to Duet Display and Astropad about the phenomenon of “Sherlock” that would profoundly impact their respective models. 

“We actually have a couple of other big product launches that are not connected to the space this summer,” Duet Founder and CEO Rahul Dewan said at the time. “We should be fairly diverse.” It seems Android tablet compatibility was pretty high on that list. Today the company announced a release for Google’s operating system, after several months of beta testing.

“Our users have frequently asked us to bring our product to Android, and since early this year, we have been working on an Android release of Duet so that we can expand our technology to new platforms,” Duet writes. “We have privately been beta testing with hundreds of users, working hard to create a robust product that performs well across as many Android devices as possible.”The app operates similarly to the iPad version, making it possible to use an Android tablet as a second display. That means, among other things, a much more affordable way to get a second screen for your laptop. The connection will work both wired and wireless. Current users will have to update the latest version of the Mac or Windows desktop version of the app.

It’s tough not to feel bad for a small developer effectively getting sidelined by native support (and really solid implementation in the case of Sidecar), but it’s nice to see Duet continuing to fight.

Android – TechCrunch

Apple’s iOS and iPadOS 13 support multiple PS4 or Xbox One controllers, which could be huge for Arcade

Apple’s iOS 13 update (and the newly-renamed iPadOS for iPad hardware) both support multiple simultaneous Bluetooth game controller connections. Apple added Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controller support in the updates, and after doing some digging, I can confirm that you can use multiple of either type of controller on one iOS device running the update, with each controlling a different player character.

That’s the good news: The bad news is that not many games take advantage of this right now. I wasn’t able to find a game in Apple’s new Arcade subscription service to try this out, for instance – and even finding a non-Arcade iOS game took a bit of digging. I finally was able to try local multi-controller multiplayer with Horde, a free-to-play 2-player co-op brawler, and found that it worked exactly as you’d expect.

With Arcade, Apple has done more to re-invigorate the App Store, and gaming on iOS in particular, than it has since the original launch of the iPhone. The all-you can game subscription offering, which delivers extremely high-quality gaming experiences without ads or in-app purchases, has already impressed me immensely with the breadth and depth of its launch slate, which includes fantastic titles like Where Cards Fall, Skate, Sayonara: Wild Hearts and What the Golf, to name just a few.

Combine the quality and value of the library with cross-play on iOS, iPadOS, Apple TV and eventually Mac devices, and you have a killer combo that’s well-positioned to eat up a lot of the gaming market currently owned by Nintendo’s Switch and other home consoles.

Local multiplayer, especially on iPads, is another potential killer feature here. Already, iPad owners are likely to be using their tablets both at home and on the road, and providing quality local gaming experiences on that big display, with just the added requirement that you pack a couple of PS4 or Xbox controllers in your suitcase or carry-on, opens up a lot of potential value for device owners.

As I said above, there’s not much in the way of games that support this right now, but it’s refreshing to know that the features are there for when game developers want to take advantage.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Disney+ comes to Canada and the Netherlands on Nov. 12, will support nearly all major platforms at launch

Disney+ will have an international launch that begins at the same time as its rollout in the U.S., Disney revealed. The company will be launching its digital streaming service on November 12 in Canada and The Netherlands on November 12, and will be coming to Australia and New Zealand the following week. The streaming service will also support virtually every device and operating system from day one.

Disney+ will be available on iOS, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Android, Android TV, PlayStation 4, Roku, and Xbox One at launch, which is pretty much an exhaustive list of everywhere someone might want to watch it, leaving aside some smaller proprietary smart TV systems. That, combined with the day-and-date global markets, should be a clear indicator that Disney wants its service to be available to as many customers as possible, as quickly as possible.

Through Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Apple TV devices, customers will be able to subscribe via in-app purchase. Disney+ will also be fully integrated with Apple’s TV app, which is getting an update in iOS 13 in hopes of becoming even more useful as a central hub for all a user’s video content. The one notable exception on the list of supported devices and platforms is Amazon’s Fire TV, which could change closer to launch depending on negotiations.

In terms of pricing, the service will run $ 8.99 per month or $ 89.99 per year in Canada, and €6.99 per month (or €69.99 per year) in the Netherlands. In Australia, it’ll be $ 8.99 per month or $ 89.99 per year, and in New Zealand, it’ll be $ 9.99 and $ 99.99 per year. All prices are in local currency.

That compares pretty well with the $ 6.99 per month (or $ 69.99 yearly) asking price in the U.S., and undercuts the Netflix pricing in those markets, too. This is just the Disney+ service on its own, however, not the combined bundle that includes ESPN Plus and Hulu for $ 12.99 per month, which is probably more comparable to Netflix in terms of breadth of content offering.


Android – TechCrunch