May 25, 2011

Google to Intro New Pay System for Android Devices

Android (News - Alert) users will soon be able to say goodbye to their wallets and turn their mobile devices into a payment system. Basically, your phone is just as good as your credit card.

With a reported launch date of tomorrow, Google (News - Alert) will unveil its new technology from the New York offices. Powered by near-field communications, the new feature allows Android users to pay for items and redeem coupons by touching or waving their phones near a receiver.

Near-field communication, or NFC, is on the radar as the next big expected push in technology, particularly in commerce, according to analysts. NFC tags contain simple data or elaborate instructions that enable them to perform such functions as unlocking doors, paying for goods, launching phone calls or exchanging data between users.

While it’s not common in phones just yet, the promise of what it can do for mobile devices seems like a big deal. NFC could be used for more than just mobile payments; it can replace a driver’s license or just about anything else that you carry in your wallet.

Mobile payments are the “ultimate chicken-and-egg market” — meaning there are so many elements required, like the installation of mobile terminals — that nobody wants to be the first to make the investment, according to Carl Howe, tech analyst with Yankee Group (News - Alert).

“Nobody’s going to do the phones unless the terminals are there,” Howe said. “The question is, who will break the logjam first.”

TechCrunch’s event, TechCrunch Disrupt, today, in fact held a panel featuring Stephanie Tilenius, VP of Google Commerce and Payments.

Given the timely coincidence of this event, it was a good opportunity to ask about Google’s NFC payment feature announcement for Thursday.

Tilenius said that the technology is an important opportunity for Android, telling the audience, “we’re making a big bet on it as a company. There is a lot of potential there.”

Of course, she didn’t reveal any secrets about tomorrow’s reported announcement, but that what is coming would involve mobile and local commerce.

Google has sent out invitations to the press asking them to attend an event at its New York offices where it will show off its "latest innovations".

Mobile network operator Sprint (News - Alert) is expected to take part.

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca