Verizon Wireless says it isn’t blocking Google Wallet on its version of the Galaxy Nexus. Then again, it also doesn’t seem to be permitting it…
Tag Archives | NFC
If you polled mobile pundits about what the next big thing was going to be, Near Field Communications (NFC) might take the top spot. The technology, which allows devices to exchange data with a quick touch, is theoretically going to change the way people pay for stuff. But it’ll only do that once most phones come with NGC technology built in–and today, only a handful of phones, such as Google and Samsung’s Nexus S and Nokia’s Astound, are ready to go.
That opens up a window of opportunity for a startup called Naratte. It’s created a technology called Zoosh that lets virtually any phone perform NFC-like tricks without needing to support NFC. Zoosh does that by using phones’ speakers and microphones to transmit data encoded in audio at ultrasonic frequencies. The company showed me several demos last week, including making PayPal-style payments by tapping two phones together and digital loyalty cards and coupons that could be redeemed by touching a phone to an inexpensive gizmo that hooks up to a retailer’s payment-processing terminal. (The coupon was in the form of a MMS message with video and embedded Zoosh audio–pretty clever.)
Called “Magic Places,” the feature will unlock functionality or new game levels when two NFC-enabled phones are tapped together, or a gameplayer visits a certain location, say company executives.
According to GigaOm’s Ryan Kim, Rovio has plans to use the “Magic Places” functionality across all its games. However, with the game now passing 200 million downloads, its a good place to start. The goal is to make the game a more social experience, and using technologies like NFC and GPS (also apparently planned) will accomplish that.
I’m not a luddite. I don’t have an instinctive distrust of Google. But my gut reaction to Google Wallet–Google’s new NFC-based system that will let people make payments, receive “loyalty” rewards, and perform other retail transactions by tapping their phones–isn’t wildly enthusiastic. I’m trying to figure out why.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the so-called “digital wallet” — take, for example, the amount of coverage on Technologizer (see here, here, and here) — ut most of it has revolved around NFC. Of course, you need an NFC-capable device to take advantage of that.
Visa is working on a non-NFC solution that aims to make the process of online purchases both from the desktop and mobile phone a lot easier, the New York Times’ Digits blog reports. Essentially, Visa would associate a consumer’s credit card number with a set of credentials. These would be valid across any participating site.
Consumers would only need to sign in to pay for their purchases. It’s not clear whether Visa’s payment offering would also negate the need to enter address information as well; that would certainly be nice.
The service is set to be launched by the end of the year, likely first in social and online gaming, and then to traditional e-retail later on. The move also will likely dovetail with the credit card provider’s efforts in NFC, and its already announced service to send payments to any Visa card electronically.
Like I’ve said before, 2011 appears to be the year of NFC and mobile payments. It’s just a matter now of actually getting one of these services live and available to the general public.
It appears that T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon’s ambitious plans to create a mobile payment service may not happen, at least the way they’re hoping. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the carriers may now decide to partner with credit card companies instead to make the network happen.
Originally, the service (called “Isis”) was to bypass the traditional credit card companies altogether: charges would appear directly on consumer’s cellular phone bills. The abrupt 180 may be due to ensuring Isis has any chance of success — leveraging the power of Visa and MasterCard could go a long way.
Sprint was the odd man out when the other major wireless carriers–Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile —announced a partnership with Discover to support wireless payments on mobile devices last year. However with that system possibly not ready until 2012, there may be an opening.
The company told Bloomberg that it is already working on a system with payment vendors and handset makers, and it plans to have it in place this year. While so-called near field communication (NFC) support would likely not be enough to attract customers to the brand itself, it certainly would give Sprint some bragging rights.
Microsoft is not going to be left behind when it comes to mobile payments, if a report from Bloomberg today is correct. The newswire’s sources claim that the Redmond company is already working to enable Near Field Communication (NFC) in Windows Phone 7, and the first devices with the technology may debut later this year.
Bloomberg had also reported that Google was set to offer its own NFC solution, aiming to test the technology in New York City and San Francisco later this year through a partnership with Verifone. Rumors of NFC in the iPhone have persisted as well, although there has been conflicting reports over the last week or two on whether it would make it to the “iPhone 5.”