One of the really hot topics this holiday season is mobile payments. There’ve been a multitude of stories about it on GoMo, along with two feature interviews coming up. Google isn’t staying quiet on the topic, and has announced that the soon-to-be-release Android 2.3 OS will have mobile payment built into it.
What’s the story?
The kind of mobile payment that Google is pushing is called “bumping”. It’s based on extremely short-range wireless technology called Near Field Communications (NFC) – your phone literally has to be within about 10cm of another NFC device to be able to communicate with it. This allows you to “bump” your phone into another device, and use NFC to transfer money between the two devices.
Ideally, you would input the amount of money you wanted to transfer onto your device. By waving your phone close enough to another phone that was waiting for a transfer, the payment would happen automatically. And this doesn’t have to be mobile-to-mobile. You could use it to pay for goods at a check-out, or for your train ticket.
What we think?
I wouldn’t really call this “news”. The actually idea of NFC payments is as old as the hills… plenty of public transit systems use NFC cards for payments , like Oyster in London. And integrating that function into phones has been in discussion for as long as devices have had NFC capabilities – or for as long as phones have had stickers put on them.
The real news here is that Android 2.3 will be supporting NFC features – Gingerbread will be rolling out on Nexus One first (probably), but since that phone doesn’t have an NFC chip, it won’t be able to use bump payments.