The Samsung Pay mobile payments solution is currently in development for third-party devices, with the South Korean original equipment manufacturer (OEM) currently planning to debut the service outside of its hardware ecosystem as early as next year, people familiar with the effort said on Thursday. It's currently unclear whether Samsung Electronics is negotiating with third-party manufacturers in an effort to convince them to integrate magnetic secure transmission (MST) capabilities into their upcoming devices or if the version of Samsung Pay for non-Samsung smartphones is meant to be more limited in nature, similar to the one available on the Gear S2 that can only make payments using the near-field communication (NFC) protocol, meaning that it cannot work with traditional payment terminals that weren't specifically designed for wireless transactions.
The Seoul-based consumer electronics manufacturer is reportedly prioritizing third-party flagships in its efforts to expand the scope of Samsung Pay, which seems to correspond to the firm's target demographic; people willing to pay for a flagship are statistically likelier to have more disposable income and are hence predisposed to make payments more often. The first non-Samsung device with support for Samsung Pay is set to be released around mid-2018, sources close to the company said. Given that vague time frame, it's unclear which OEM would be the first to partner with Samsung to release a device with Samsung Pay support. Google and LG Electronics are unlikely candidates in light of the fact that they're currently offering competing services in the form of Android Pay and LG Pay, and HTC traditionally steers away from mid-year launches of premium handsets, with this year's U11 being the exception to that rule. Unless HTC adjusts its general product strategy, that leaves some Chinese manufacturer as the most likely partner for Samsung's contactless payments ambitions.
The Korean phone maker has been in the process of expanding the availability of Samsung Pay for some time now, recently bringing the service to a number of its mid-range offerings in India including the Galaxy J7 Pro and Galaxy J7 Max. However, those devices only boast support for Samsung Pay Mini, a significantly more limited version of the service that isn't as well-equipped to compete with alternative mobile payments solutions.