Samsung's predictable plastic design ends with AlphaThe Galaxy Alpha boosts Samsung's style with a metal frame, and Amazon launches a card reader to expand into the offline world.
The newest Samsung phone sure does look like an iPhone. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. Samsung Galaxy phones come in many shapes and sizes, and all are encased in cheap plastic. That is until now. Samsung revealed the Galaxy Alpha. It's the first Galaxy phone with a metal frame. It's not all metal, there is a soft back cover with a textured design and it looks very similar to the iPhones metal frame. The Alpha is clearly a step up in design, but when you look at the texture,. Specs. It's not as good as the Galaxy S5. The Alpha doesn't have the very best screen resolution tech available and the camera has fewer mega pixels than the S5. There's also no expandable micro SD card slot. Now it's still a powerful phone with lots of features. But you just have to wonder what Samsung's game plan is here and why they didn't just load it up with the best tech. This wasn't announced with much fanfare, in fact there was only a press release. We don't know yet where this will be sold or how much it will cost, but it is scheduled to launch in early September. Perhaps there's another metal frame Smartphone that will get more love from Samsung. Three weeks from now, on September 3, the company will be having an event, where it will likely debut the extra large Galaxy Note 4. And by the looks of some leaked images from GSM Arena, it will also have metal around the sides. The online retail giant, Amazon, is trying to expand its reach by tapping into the off-line world. Amazon created a secure credit card reader for small business owners. It's called Local Register. And it's this small card swiper device that connects into an audio jack of the smartphone or tablet so stores can process payments right from an app. To compete with Square and PayPal, Amazon is taking a smaller cut of the sales for processing the transactions for those that sign up before the end of October. Amazon will charge 1.75% per card swipe until 2016. And to compare, PayPal charges 2.7% and Square charges 2.75%. Now while that's great for business owners, sometimes the rest of us just need a simple app to send money to our friends. Like when you need to pay someone back for lunch. It's also handy when you have roommates and you have to keep track of who is paying their share of the utility bill. Two apps that may help are Splitwise and Venmo, Splitwise let's you set up and track one-time and reoccuring payments for a group of people, and it let's you send reminders when someone hasn't paid. They can pay with Pay Pal or use Venmo, which is actually it's own app, that connects to a checking account. That's your tech news update. For more details head to cnet.com. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey. [MUSIC]