Enterprise Mobility: Google NFC Mobile Payments May Face Apple, Amazon, PayPal as Challengers
NFC Challenged by Lack of Standard
For starters, there is no cohesive, universal NFC standard. The NFC Forum, which Google joined in March, is working on one. Until a standard is hashed out, wholesale NFC adoption could remain crippled.
Google in March was widely reported to be working with credit card providers MasterCard and Citigroup to let consumers make purchases by waving their smartphones at point-of-sale terminals made by VeriFone Systems. The service, which is reportedly being tested in San Francisco and New York City, involves embedding chips, software and sensors based on the NFC (near-field communication) short-range wireless technology in Android mobile devices. Google declined to confirm this plan, but details have been leaking since former Google CEO Eric Schmidt waved around a Samsung Nexus S smartphone based on Google's Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system last November. Gingerbread includes native support for NFC, and the Nexus S itself has an NFC controller chip from NXP Semiconductor. More Gingerbread-based phones are on the way. NFC mobile payments are big in Asia, prompting optimists to predict a multibillion-dollar market in the United States. However, as rich as NFC-enabled mobile payments are in potential, they have been poor in implementation to date in this country. Google could build out a mobile-payment empire to serve ads against local deals via Android, but it has several challenges, and challengers, in its path. eWEEK lists some of them here.