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Samsung’s Galaxy S III confirmed as the official 2012 London Olympics phone

Samsung Galaxy S III front and backPrior to the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S III, in amongst all the rumors concerning the device’s specification, was talk that Samsung could also unveil a limited edition phone to celebrate the 2012 Olympics. It soon became clear the two phones would probably be one and the same, but it has taken until now for Samsung to make it official.

Samsung has partnered with Visa and Lloyds TSB bank in the UK to create the limited edition Galaxy S III, which will come bundled with a special Olympic-themed version of Visa’s payWave wireless payment system, allowing it to make full use of the phone’s NFC chip.

The Olympic S III won’t be going on sale though, and will only be available to sponsored athletes, although exactly which ones or how many isn’t known.

Those lucky ones who do bag themselves a free, limited edition Galaxy S III, will be able to use payWave at various outlets in the Olympic Village, purchase items from around 140,000 stores outfitted with the necessary terminal and even pay for taxis.

A quick tap of the Olympic S III against a wireless payment terminal, after activating the payWave service, will see transactions of up to £20 made without further interaction, however anything over that figure will require a passcode. Payment history and account balance information will also be displayed.

What hasn’t been revealed is whether payWave will appear as an application, or be installed on the SIM card, or how the system will need to be funded. As no pictures of the device have been released yet either, we don’t know if it will have a unique color scheme or other Olympic branding to make it standout beside the standard S III.

Although NFC payments are commonplace elsewhere in the world, they have yet to make an impact in the UK, however the Olympic push could see wireless payments really take off over the coming months.

As for the Galaxy S III, the standard version will be released in the UK and Europe on May 29, with the USA to follow during the summer. The NFC chip is a standard feature, so you won’t have to be an Olympian to make use of it.