Google has been showing off its latest Android phone on the West Coast of America, which it says will double as a mobile wallet. In fact, the new handset will come equipped with software that will enable users to pay for goods and services instead of breaking out their credit cards. Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, said yesterday that support for the Near Field Communications technology is being integrated into the next version of Google’s Android software, "Gingerbread", which, he said, will be introduced in a few weeks.
Speaking at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Schmidt commented, "One way to think about it is, this could replace your credit card.” He predicted that there are likely to be some "500 new start-ups in the mobile payment space as these platforms emerge.” He wants his company to partner with traditional credit card industry players, such as payment processors, rather than compete with them.
Of course, NFC technology is nothing new, indeed BWCS produced a report on how it could affect the mobile industry several years ago, however, interoperability with Google's Android software could drive the uptake of it. Android is currently the second most popular smart-phone operating system according to figures from Gartner Research, which places it behind Nokia’s Symbian but ahead of the Apple iPhones.
Schmidt also said that his company’s ability to offer smart-phone software with Internet-based services such as real-time driving directions and "live” foreign language translation, would distinguish Android from its rivals.