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Samsung Wallet slavishly copies inspired by Apple Passbook

Iconic imitation: The surest form of flattery

MWC 2013 Samsung has unveiled a developer preview of its upcoming Wallet app, and to say that it was inspired by Apple's iOS Passbook app may be a gross understatement.

Like Passbook, Samsung's Wallet stores retail coupons, airline boarding passes, membership cards, and event tickets, according to The Verge. Also like Apple's offering, Samsung's Android app provides time- and location-based alerts, and will update such items as boarding passes when schedules change.

Although Samsung recently announced an agreement with Visa to provide NFC-based pay-by-bonk capabilities, Wallet will instead use bar codes to interact with payment and ticketing systems. Guess what Passbook uses – yup, bar codes.

The Verge reports that during Samsung's Wallet rollout at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company announced that it has partnerships with Walgreens, Belly, Major League Baseball, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Lufthansa. So does Apple – and although Apple has many more partnerships than those few, Wallet is not yet available to the general public, so expect the Korean consumer electronics giant to catch up with its Cupertinian competitor sooner rather than later.

And speaking of competition, if you haven't been vacationing on an isolated islet in the Mergui Archipelago for the past year or two, you're aware that Apple and Samsung have been locked in a worldwide struggle over alleged patent infringements, with both design and technical patents in dispute.

One design patent over which Apple is suing Samsung was among those in the first volley in that patent war, lobbed in April 2011, which charged that Samsung had "slavishly" copied such Apple look-and-feel items as "square icons with rounded corners."

It appears that Samsung is at it again, not merely copying those aforementioned rounded corners in its Wallet icon – if, in fact, The Verge's representation of that icon is correct – but also replicating details of the Passbook icon, as well:

Wallet-app icons by Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft

Icons, left to right: Apple Passbook, Samsung Wallet (source: The Verge), Google Wallet, Microsoft Wallet

Notice, if you will, such li'l details as the round cutout on the yellow ticket in both the Apple and Samsung icons, and the tilted green ticket that leads the row o' tix, left to right, on each icon. Then compare the vastly different icons as created by Google and Microsoft for their Wallets.

Listen carefully; that tittering you hear off in the distance is the giggling of Apple's legal team, tickled pink that Samsung has ensured their highly remunerative employment with yet another bit of slavish – and possibly actionable – imitation. ®

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