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Old November 23rd, 2013, 09:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default An UPSIDE to 4.3 Update

Despite all the negatives that have been reported with the US 4.3 update, I found a really useful feature. Along with the added bloatware, there is a running service called Mobeam. By itself, it does nothing. It's function is to act as an API to other apps. There are currently two apps available that utilize the service, Beep'nGo and OmniBeam. From their FAQ:
"Both applications make storing managing and beaming your loyalty, gift, and membership cards easy. OmniBeam includes offers and coupons from our partner SavingStar's network of US-based retailers, and is only available to users in the US. Beep'nGo supports cards from international retailers, provides a simple and elegant user interface, and includes support for manually entered card numbers."
There are many apps that store loyalty cards in a scannable format, but the problem is, most scanners can't read them because of the reflective glass on the phone. These two new apps actually send an infrared beam to the scanner, which is claimed to be read almost instantly. After transferring my cards from Key Ring to Beep'nGo, I went shopping today. I used it at three retailers and had 100% success! Even the store clerks were awed! Beep'nGo has two screens: one for loyalty cards and one for gift cards (that tracks remaining balances). You can really use it for anything with a bar code though (gym membership, transit pass, etc.), or even personalized cards without a bar code (hotel and car rental programs, etc.) by taking a picture of the card (within the app).

Even though the service starts at boot, I've noticed no difference in battery life, and this thing just flat works! It is currently only available on Android 4.4 and two Galaxy devices running 4.3 - the S4 and the Note 3.

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Old November 24th, 2013, 09:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So you point the top of the phone at the scanner, rather than the screen?

Assuming what you say works as well as you say it does, this is exactly why I made IR (and NFC) a must have feature. Phones have a long life, for me anyway, and I'd rather have unused hardware feature than wish I had the feature and want a new phone.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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So you point the top of the phone at the scanner, rather than the screen?
That's a good question, but to be honest, I'm not sure because it happens so quick. It seems like you just wave the phone in the general direction of the scanner and, BEEPů it registers. The image on the screen says to point the screen toward the scanner, but that might just be window dressing.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 12:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I just tried it today and it works exactly as advertised. Bring the card up in the app, wave the phone in front of the scanner, and *beep* goes the Point of Sale and away you go.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 01:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So which app do you guys recommend?
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Old November 24th, 2013, 05:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So which app do you guys recommend?
My opinion? If all you need is an electronic storage medium with the ability to use at POS terminals, go with Beep'nGo (like I did). It has a simple yet elegant user interface. If you also want discount offers sent to you (and are in the US), use OmniBeam. They both have loyalty card and gift card capability.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 07:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I installed both and like Beep not go better.

But I am not sure it is IR.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 10:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Are there any apps available that do what Beep'n Go does without having some form of an account with Mobeam, something that doesn't track my shopping habits and give permission to store my credit card number given the opportunity?
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Old November 24th, 2013, 11:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It's a new technology, so it's currently the only game in town. I used my Facebook account for logon, and dissallowed location tracking within the app (+ disabled it in the Beaming service, using 4.3's App Ops feature). You could set up a phoney FB account if you are really concerned, and use it for no other purpose than registering apps.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 07:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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So is this app using IR or the NFC?
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Old November 25th, 2013, 09:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valorian View Post
So is this app using IR or the NFC?
It's clearly not using NFC, but it's not so clear it's using IR, unless the screen maybe can emit IR.

BTW, check out the ratings. A lot of people are upset just because the technology exists and was put on their phone without their permission.

It would be nice if the Starbucks app adopted the technology. I had a hard time at the drive through yesterday with bright sun.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 06:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valorian View Post
So is this app using IR or the NFC?
Infrared
http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/14/samsung-taps-mobeam-to-bring-beamable-barcodes-to-the-galaxy-s4-could-wallet-integration-be-next/
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