eBay and PayPal have embraced mobile commerce and are just as enthusiastic about wearable devices, as evidenced by their support of smartwatches. The two companies launched apps for Samsung’s first generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch last fall, and eBay and PayPal are now featured apps on the second generation Gear 2 smartwatches that Samsung announced over the weekend at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Spain (it dropped the word “Galaxy” from the new models).
PayPal’s Vice President of Global Product Hill Ferguson took to the company blog to say PayPal would be the first payment provider on the Gear 2, available worldwide in April. The PayPal app will allow Gear 2 owners to check-in to pay at local stores, save and redeem offers, send money and receive payment notifications. A PayPal spokesperson told EcommerceBytes additional news would be forthcoming this week at the MWC.
In September, Steve Yankovich, Vice President, Innovation and New Ventures at eBay Inc., had said the idea of wearable devices was particularly exciting to commerce companies like eBay because it further removed potential hurdles from the mobile shopping experience. “Think about someone who’s riding a bike. It’s not convenient for a rider to pull out a phone and order a new helmet. But if the device is already on his or her wrist and it’s active, the rider is more likely to make the purchase.”
On Sunday, PayPal published a video to YouTube showcasing the app’s features on the coming Gear 2 model.
For sellers concerned that shoppers can’t properly visualize products on tablets and smartphones, they may not be cheered upon learning that the Gear 2’s display is 1.63 inches.
In addition to the traditional apps you might expect to see on any mobile device, the Gear 2 also has fitness features thanks to its heart rate sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope. Among the notable differences between the latest Gear 2 smartwatch and its predecessor is the operating system. The Galaxy Gear uses Google’s Android operating system, while the Gear 2 is based on Tizen, an open source, standards-based software platform.
That means third-party developers like eBay and PayPal had to make a decision about whether to develop apps for yet another operating system in addition to Apple and Android. The Wall Street Journal spoke to a developer whose company initially balked at developing for Tizen. Speaking anonymously, the developer said his company had already created its app to run on Android devices, and rebuilding it on Tizen would require a significant amount of work, and with no dominant operating system for wearable devices, he said “Samsung is as good a partner as any for jumping on that.”
Additional apps featured on the Gear 2 include Banjo, BMW, CNN, Conde Nast, Expedia, Evernote, Feedly, GARMIN, Glympse, GM (Onstar 4GLTE), iControl, Line, Path, RUNTASTIC, Volkswagen, Weather Channel and Under Armour (Map my fitness).