A mobile phone is a girl’s best friend

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Did you think your smartphone was only good for Instagram and a cheeky session of mobile shopping? Think again – this week’s [retail bytes] explores the latest technology to hit the mobile world.

London landing for Samsung pay: Samsung Pay has just arrived in London and offers the simplest way of paying for your tube journeys – the phone’s screen does not need to be on (like Android Pay) and you don’t need to fiddle with fingerprints (like Apple Pay) – just waltz through the gates and smile. It works with old-school card-swiping machines, too, so retailers will like it (no need for costly kit upgrades). Samsung Pay also works with the lovely smartwatches Gear S2 and S3, making the payment even easier – there’s no need to get the phone out of your pocket at all. The future is here!

Seeing doubleMicrosoft may have other priorities, considering they were implicated in the world’s biggest cyberhack so far, but they’re currently working on a new format of smartphone that offers a holographic display. The screen can project 3D objects, making it a no-brainer for anyone who shops online. Resolution is still a challenge but, frankly, even in lo-res display HoloPhone 3D projections are still better than nothing, or the boring old 2D images. Bring it on Bill!

Squeeze me tightOne-hundred-and-fifty is said to be the average number of times we check our phones per day, draining the battery and risking our mobile wallet becoming useless by the end of a full day of shopping. Designers are looking to harness the ‘squeeze’ energy that humans emit while holding their phones. With the use of the new polymers on the phone’s cover, we may be able to charge them just by squeezing. If we’re serious about mobile wallets, solving the batteries issue is a must.

Dial sun for 999: Emergency calls are hard to make if your phone is out of battery, so we’re pleased to report that using the good old sun’s rays as a rescue aid might be a solution. A three-minute exposure to solar power can buy you one minute of a call on new prototypes, which is enough for an emergency as well as a quick Topshop purchase using your mobile wallet. Good luck to everyone engaged in those epic struggles to design a phone that can really be there for us when needed.

AR: enhancing imagination: John Lewis says shoppers have ‘no imagination’. When buying that new armchair or a kitchen, we just can’t overlap the image of the new product onto the mental image of our house. Fair enough. So to help us out the leading UK department store is supporting start-ups with AR solutions to wake up our inner ‘imagineer’ while shopping. To get used to shopping while wearing AR glasses, we explored Varia Vision for cycling fans. This pair of glasses projects the road directions on the glass where you need them, and includes a display of your heart rate stats. Combined with their bike-mounted radar solution, the glasses can also show you what’s behind you – which seems pretty handy for urban cycling. So it may be that it’s not mobile phones but a new pair of ‘smart glasses’ that are going to be our new best friend!

New shows: As sci-fi fashion fans, we’re looking forward to a new show opening in the Barbican on the 3rd of June. From Jules Verne to sci-fi costumes, over 800 works will be on show in one of the greatest post-modernist venues in Europe. It’s totally worth flying in for a dystopian weekend of wonder.