The brand new Samsung Galaxy S8 will be arriving with an added bit of security in some markets thanks to some of the devices getting one of Gemalto's embedded Secure Element (eSE) smart chip. The eSE chip acts a kind of moderator between the device itself and interactions that are external to the device – such as when the NFC reader is used to make a payment. Things are a little more complicated than that, but what it effectively does is to protect the sensitive data portion of the transmission. No security measure is perfect but Gemalto says the chip is tamper-proof and comes with a secured OS and applications.
In addition to being generally multi-applicative, it also specifically supports Samsung Pay, which may be at least one of the reasons Samsung opted to go with the company and that smart chip in particular. The announcement was made today, May 4th, through Gemalto's press website. According to Suzanne Tong-Li, Gemalto's Senior Vice President of Greater China and Korea for Mobile Services, the company is "thrilled" about being chosen to provide Samsung with an "end-to-end solution" for its smartphones through the partnership. No information was given via the press release regarding which specific markets consumers can expect the eSE variant of Samsung's latest flagship to arrive in. It also isn't known if the handsets that have already been sold in the U.S. and elsewhere had the secured chip embedded in them. However, either Samsung or Gemalto will likely make an announcement about that later on, once the details of the deal have been finalized between the two companies.
Although there has been no revelation as to which markets the more secure Samsung Galaxy S8 will be available in, this isn't the first device for which Samsung has chosen to use Gemalto's eSE. Some globally available Galaxy A series devices and China's Galaxy C series have previously come with the smart chip. Samsung also teamed up with Mercedes-Benz in 2016 to create a "Smartphone Car Key" which used an eSE. For those interested in a more in-depth, technical outline about how Gemalto's eSE smart chip works, the company has a video up on YouTube – which has been embedded below.