Gmail for iOS now leverages Google Drive directly for archiving and attachments
Google has updated its Gmail for iOS (free) to allow users to leverage the company's Google Drive in two new ways: users can now save attachments in emails directly to Google Drive, and users can now access Google Drive directly from within the Gmail app to add attachments to outgoing messages. The update to version 3.14159 (yes, pi) also gives users more options with account management, such as deciding which of their Gmail account is seen without removing other accounts, and changing the Gmail profile pic.
E-book subscription service Oyster launches web and mobile web reader
Oyster, an e-book subscription service, has announced its launch of new web and mobile web readers. The expansion marks its second new platform in the past month (with the first launch specifically for Android users in June). Pages in the web reader will scroll smoothly from top to bottom, with five reader themes to select from. Oyster is partnered with over 1,600 publishers, and offers access to a diverse library for $10 per month.
Square offering alternative to traditional bank lending
Mobile card payment service, Square, has announced its expansion into alternative bank lending. The Square Capital program aims to give businesses that are using a Square platform to obtain a cash advance for growth purposes. Square offers this without requiring an application process, delay in turnaround or fees. To use it, Square customers sell a specific amount of their anticipated future card sales to Square, in return for a lump sum payment that the business can receive within one day. Businesses automatically pay Square based on daily card sales, and there is no set time frame for repayment.
Square Register updated to include offline functionality
Square has released an update for its Square Register system today, featuring a new offline mode. Prior to now, users of the compact card reading device for iPhone and iPad required an active Internet connection; now, when one's iOS device loses its connectivity, the app continues to accept payments. Sellers are responsible for any expired or declined transactions that occur offline, and any chargebacks that may result.
Square removes its Wallet payment app from App Store, introduces Square Order
Square has removed its mobile payment app, Square Wallet, from the App Store this week, as it introduces Square Order. Comparable to Pickup, Square Order allows users to place orders and pre-pay from one's smartphone before arriving at a deli or coffee shop, so as to not need to wait in line. Square Order is aimed at local businesses, and is currently limited to San Francisco and New York City.
Spotify app for Android receives revamp, new aesthetic
Spotify, a subscription-based music streaming platform, has begun to roll out a newly updated version of its Android app to accompany the previously-released update for iOS. Featuring an over-all new look, Spotify now sports a darker palette, an improved Browse feature and its Your Music tool. Your Music allows users to save songs and albums to their personal Spotify library instead of requiring playlist creation. All compatible Android users of Spotify are anticipated to have received the app update within the next few weeks.
Google seen as most likely buyer
Both Apple and Google have explored buying mobile payment platform Square during the past year, sources say. Rumors about an acquisition have allegedly increased in recent weeks, with Google being picked as the most likely buyer, should a deal actually happen. No offers have been made though, and people close to Square's management say the company isn't actively chasing an acquisition.
Square now offering POS platform in Spanish
Point-of-Sale card payment service Square has released its app Square Register in Spanish today. Square Register, available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, allows businesses to accept card payments in-store. The web-based dashboard as well as its online selling platform, Square Market, now also support Spanish. Square's services are currently available to business owners in US, Canada and Japan.
Will allow people to preorder from digital menus
Mobile payment service Square is testing out a new app called Pickup, reports say. Priceonomics notes the app is currently in beta with some San Francisco restaurants, and lets people order takeout food in advance of showing up. This is possible because the app has access to participating restaurants' menus, and lets people pay through Square.
Whole Foods become second large-scale customer of Square
Natural foods grocery chain Whole Foods has plans to integrate Square's iPad cash registers into its stores, with a few of its locations already implementing the devices. Whole Foods has signed a deal to put Square's iPad-based payment systems inside US grocery locations, where they will be used at counters that sell ready-to-consume products, such as pizza, sandwiches, and beverages, for the purpose of supplementing conventional checkouts. Customers will be able to pay for 'quick purchases' at the cash register with credit and debit cards, cash, and the Square Wallet smartphone app (in some locations). Whole Foods is the second major company to adopt Square's payment system.
Square refreshes card reader with thinner design
Square on Moday revealed a new generation of its mobile credit card reader, one with a thinner design and more accurate functionality. The new reader heads to shelves as Square expands to Japan and generally pushes to expand its share in the mobile payment processing arena. Aside from the thinner form factor and improved functionality, the new design also features some tweaks to make it play better with assorted types of electronics.
Crescent-shaped Boomerang Wireless Audio Dock released
Favi Entertainment has launched its latest mobile accessory, the Boomerang Wireless Audio Dock. A Bluetooth and NFC-enabled speaker, the Boomerang can pair with a mobile device from up to 33-feet away, or rest on the outside edges of a device to create a portable home-theater experience. Its expansion sleeve design is adjustable, accommodating desired viewing angles as well as varying sizes of devices, with its curved shape allowing for wearing around the neck. The Boomerang can play audio for up to ten hours, and is available in two sizes: the original Boomerang, which has two 6-watt speakers, and the Boomerang Mini with two 4-watt speakers. Featuring up to ten hours of audio play, both Boomerang speakers are available in a variety of colors. Currently available for pre-order, the 6-watt Boomerang dock is priced at $80, and the 4-watt Boomerang mini is priced at $60.
Move affects only the highest dollar volume processors
Payment transaction facilitator for mobile devices Square is discontinuing its monthly flat-fee pricing in February of 2014. On January 2, subscribers with a monthly fee will be billed, which will be the last monthly payment. Square is reverting its pricing for al users to a per-swipe fee, dependent on contract with the payment processor.
Mobile-based payment service said almost ready to go public
Mobile payment processor Square is said to be in discussions to make an initial public offering, according to twin reports from The Wall Street Journal and CNBC. The payment processing firm is reportedly in talks with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, among other banks. The public offering is still very much in the planning stages, according to reports, but it could happen as soon as 2014.
Entire payment transaction carried out over e-mail after registration
Payments system Square has opened up its e-mail-based money transfer service to users in the United States, added on top of its existing in-store and mobile paymentsservices . At the same time as widening availability of Square Cash after starting its beta in May, the company is releasing a pair of apps for iOS and Android that performs the same type of transaction as the e-mail version.
iPad users get Bluetooth printing
Mobile payment service Square has updated the iOS edition of Square Register, its point-of-sale app for retail. The v3.2 release allows businesses to record any sort of payment type, including checks and gift cards. Previously the app was centered around credit card transactions, where Square makes its money.
Limbo iOS release date set
Limbo, a popular monochromatic puzzle-platformer, will be making its way to iOS devices next week. Planned for a July 3rd release, the game has already sold more than 3 million copies across the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Steam, and Mac App Store. The game challenges players to explore a 2D world where they must solve environmental puzzles, and avoid numerous hazards, in order to progress. At launch Limbo for iOS will sell for $5 and will be available on the iPad 2 and later, as well as the iPhone 4S and 5, and latest generation iPod touch.
Item libraries, Bluetooth scanners speed up checkouts
Square has issued a major update of the iOS and Android versions of Register, the app for the company's retail checkout system. Version 3.0 focuses on improvements for restaurants: customers can add custom tips, and the payment pad now supports multiple custom amounts, which can each have individual notes attached. On the iPad, customizable kitchen tickets can include a name or number, and orders can be modified at the counter.
Receipt printer costs extra $300
Mobile-based point-of-sale developer Square has announced the Business in a Box, a new hardware option for retailers. The system includes a cash drawer, a Square card reader, and a WindFall iPad stand, meant to hold an iPad running the Square Register app. In theory the combination should be able to handle all major POS tasks, including creating custom inventories and running analytics.
Flint takes on Square with new app
Flint is taking on the bigger players in the mobile payment market, pushing out a product for credit card payments that doesn't rely on a card reader like Square or other competitors. Instead, the app uses image recognition algorithms to read the numbers off of a card's face and process a transaction that way.
Availability of reader advances Square and Starbucks partnership
Expanding its partnership with mobile payment service Square, Starbucks announced today that it has commenced sales of Square Mobile Card Readers in its 7,000 US stores. The companies have already partnered to allow Starbucks customers to access the Square Directory while in the stores, and Square processes Starbucks' US credit and debit card transactions. The payment processing hardware and app combo is available for $10, with a $10 rebate for first-time users. Square takes a flat 2.75 percent of transactions processed by the card reader.
Mobile payment system increases by five times in one year
Mobile payments system Square has reached a total of $10 billion in payments for the year. The company has increased its rate of payments from $5 billion in the sprint, and is up from the $8 billion figure two months ago. At this time last year, Square was passing just $2 billion in payments per year.
Square misses valuation target
Mobile payment processor Square just finished its fourth round of funding, netting a $3.25 billion valuation. As AllThingsD reports, the three-year old company raised more than $200 million for this round of funding, though it achieved a lower valuation than the company had previously sought. Meanwhile, Square's chief operating officer is predicting that Apple's iPad and comparable devices will become the point-of-sale devices of choice for most retailers over the next year and a half, a likelihood that bodes well for the mobile payment company.
Starbucks to invest $25 million in Square
Square has agreed a new partnership with Starbucks Coffee, reports say. Beginning this fall, Square will handle the processing of both credit and debit card transactions at all of Starbucks' 7,000 US locations. Starbucks is also planning to integrate Square Directory into its own apps and network, which could potentially expose Pay with Square users to more merchants. At a minimum, Pay with Square will allow people to find a nearby Starbucks through the Directory.
Pay with Square gets easier local search
Mobile payment company Square has made a series of updates to its services. The most important of these is a new loyalty program available to businesses, who can now distribute virtual cards to shoppers using the Pay with Square app for iOS or Android. Each visit to a business earns a stamp on that shop's card, leading up to rewards such as discounts or free goods; a reward can also be given to new customers.
VeriFone to bring out SAIL card reader to defend against Square
VeriFone will release a new card reader that plugs into the iPhone or iPad's 3.5mm headphone input to process payments. A step up from its PayWare solution for hardware, the new device, called SAIL, will be very close to Square's hardware. VeriFone already makes card payment hardware for larger businesses and stores, and is trying to protect this client base from smaller up and comers like Square, BusinessInsider reported.
SalesVu updated to 2.0 includes receipt printing
SalesVu has updated its mobile payment application for iPhone and iPad to version 2.0, enabling additional retail-related functionality. Employee shift management, barcode scanning, and receipt printing have been added, along with a simplified end-of-day process. Food service users can split checks and relay orders to the kitchen through the app. SalesVu made the updates while facing competition from competing payment system Square, which is reportedly aiming for a $4 billion valuation.
Payment processor makes a big bet
Square is looking to secure a fresh injection of venture capital funding, AllThingsD reports, and has set its valuation sights pretty high for this round. The payment processing company is eyeing a $4 billion valuation, which would amount to a quadrupling of its previous valuation from less than a year ago.
Square nabs latest Google veteran for mobile tech
Square landed a key addition to its ranks Monday after Rob von Behren confirmed through his LinkedIn profile and a conversation with NFC Times that he had left Google for the newcomer. He had co-created Google Wallet, but left the project in January and decided to switch companies after hearing of Square doing "great things" in mobile payments. Von Behren's exact purpose at Square wasn't going to be made public outside of his general position.
Square upgrades readers with hardware encryption
Square readers have just been upgraded to offer hardware encryption, VentureBeat found. The company is planning on upgrading existing readers without hardware encryption to the new ones. The new security measure will encrypt credit card numbers as they are sent from the reader to the app on the mobile device, keeping it secure even before it needs to go online.
Pay with Square goes cross-platform
Square on late Sunday slipped out a full remake of its Card Case mobile payment app. Now called Pay with Square, the iOS version (App Store) is now joined by the very first Android version (Google Play), both with new interfaces. It drops the skeuomorphic look meant to represent a literal wallet and is focused more direct lists and a clear way to start a tab at a given shop.
Eventbrite At The Door gets iPad card reader
Eventbrite on Tuesday adapted the basic concept of mobile payment reading formed by Square to the event formula with new hardware for At The Door. The platform lets those with a new card reader for the iPad to take credit card payments for concerts, plays, and other events on the spot. While familiar, an optional printer from Star lets the event host print tickets on the spot if they have a power source and an Ethernet link.
PayPal Here reader and iPhone app arrive
As leaked earlier in the week, PayPal has unveiled its own direct equivalent to Square's reader. PayPal Here's triangular reader lets anyone with an iPhone take card payments and, as expected, PayPal payments. It claims an edge over Square in sheer variety of payment types, supporting options like debit cards, manually entered or scanned card info, and even check scanning in the US.
PayPal may clash directly with Square hardware
PayPal's mobile payment technology may lead to a direct competitor to Square. leaks emerging from GigaOM would have a plug-in reader to let a smartphone, and presumably a tablet, take credit cards through a native app. Other than a possible triangle shape, not much was known about what it would entail besides a launch on Thursday.
Square explains NYC taxi payment method
Square picked Tuesday to give a fuller explanation of its soon to launch New York City taxi cab system. The pilot project will give drivers an iPhone with a custom app, Checker, as well as a special seatback iPad for the sake of passengers. While the iPhone manages billing, the metal-housed iPad will both handle payment or passengers through a swiper as well as show them a map with the cab's current position, active fare, and temperature.
Square Register remade and talks to Card Case
Square overnight unveiled a completely overhauled version of its Register for iPad. The new interface is tailored towards stores and turns the iPad into a point of sale, with a highly visual interface meant for day-in, day-out use by cashiers. It can integrate tightly with real-world components of a sale, such as printing a receipt or even accessing a cash drawer.
Square approved to test payment gear in NYC cabs
Square readers for payments will be used in a few weeks during a testing project in New York City in 30 taxis before becoming more widespread. The test is part of the requirements that need to be met after the New York City Taxi and Limousine
Commission approved Square's systems in cabs. Once testing is completed, there are plans to deploy the technology in over 13,000 cabs in the city.
Best Buy kicks off tech-driven Super Bowl ads
Best Buy as part of a promo has started the run of tech-focused Super Bowl ads with a segment pitching its mobile stores. The ad unites both the inventors of phone technology, such as Philippe Kahn (the camera phone) and Ray Kurzweil (text to voice synthesis) with those making newer hardware and software. Key inventors behind Instagram, Shazam, Square, Words With Friends, and others find their way into the 30-second clip.
T-Mobile sells Square readers at about 100 stores
T-Mobile has now begun selling the Square mobile readers to business owners. In mid-December, the carrier began offering the hardware in a limited-time promo. The carrier is the first to sell the hardware directly, though it's available at less than 100 stores across the nation.
Obama campaign takes on Square for donations
The Obama campaign has began using the wallet-free and wireless payment technology from Square for its fundraising purposes. Readers are being given to staff who work on the campaign, who can then use their Android smartphones, iPhones, and iPads to collect donations. This should make the process more streamlined, as the alternative involves filling out a form and writing a check or giving out credit card information or cash to the fundraiser.
Updates available for Android and iOS apps
Square has introduced significant updates to its mobile-payment apps for iOS and Android devices. The service brings several new capabilities, enabling vendors to take advantage of loyalty programs or print physical receipts. Businesses can create custom promotions that provide special discounts or other benefits to regular customers who open a tab with Card Case.
Deal could pose threat to Square's mobile service
AT&T has teamed up with Intuit to offer a small business owner the ability to process credit card transactions on their smartphone or tablet. The app, Intuit GoPayment for AT&T, pairs an AT&T subscriber's compatible iOS, Android or BlackBerry device (free, App Store, Android Market, BlackBerry App World) with a small Bluetooth credit card reader. Equipped with them, a business person quickly can capture credit card information with a swipe or a few keystrokes, get authorization, and instant payment credit.
Virgin Group's Sir Branson invests in Square
Square, maker of the hardware and software required for vendors to take credit card payments, has recently landed Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group fame as one of its investors. This is the third piece of positive news for the company, which recently received $100 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Branson's investment amount isn't being specified, however.
Square Card Case uses iOS 5 for geo area
Square on Wednesday rolled out a major upgrade to its Card Case app for the iPhone that gives it special location awareness just for iOS 5 users. A single opt-in takes advantage of iOS 5's geofencing to make payment completely hands-free at places where the app user has a loyalty card. Whenever the user is 100 meters or closer to a store using Square, they just have to mention their name to make the payment.
Square readers spread to most major US shops
Square significantly widened the reach of its mobile payment reader hardware on Monday with a retail expansion. The device was already available at Apple stores but is now available at Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Target. The reach gives it 9,000 potential places to buy the iOS- and Android-ready add-on, which normally costs $10 and should give users an equal amount of initial credit in payments.
Square to continually improve on monthly basis
Square, the company that allows the use of Android and iOS smartphones and tablets to process credit card payments, revealed on Monday that it is now processing $2 billion in payments. At the same time, the company has axed its $1,000 per week transaction limit to users. Now, instead of having to wait between a few hours to a few days, even new merchants get the proceeds from a sale the next business day.
Standalone mini-store in Tribeca for 3 months
PayPal will open a popup store in the trendy Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan to showcase its point-of-sale features. PayPal will invite local merchants to visit the store, located at 174 Hudson, to see real-time demos of the company's payment processing technology for bricks and mortar stores. The store also features a QR code on the storefront window so pedestrians can learn more about the new payment options. In addition to handling payments, PayPal's new system is expected to allow consumers to check inventory in real-time, and provide location-aware and in-store offers from stores.
COO does not see value proposition
Amid the buzz surrounding near-field communications (NFC) features on the latest smartphones, Square COO Keith Rabois has dismissed the importance of the transaction technology. Speaking at GigaOM's Mobilize conference, the executive said his company does not believe NFC is "likely to resonate with mainstream Americans."
Square updates mobile payment app for iOS devices
Square has updated its iPhone and iPad mobile payment app, with claimed improvements in speed. A number of screens involved in the transaction process have also been eliminated, with payments said to take as short as four seconds. At the same time, the Square Card case app (free, App Store) no longer requires signatures for transactions of less than $25.
iTunes designer Louie Mantia hops to Square
Apple saw a second defection this week after Louie Mantia said he would be exiting the company. The relatively well-known iTunes Design team member, wallpaper creator, and Disney fan is joining Square's creative team to drive the artwork for its mobile payment system. He planned to be at the still-young San Francisco startup in two weeks.