Google Wallet support expands to AT&T's Galaxy Nexus
AT&T (NYSE:T) subscribers with Android-powered Galaxy Nexus smartphones can now leverage the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Wallet tap-and-pay application following an Android Market device compatibility update issued earlier this week.
Droid-Life reports that Galaxy Nexus devices running an AT&T SIM card now support the Near Field Communications-based Google Wallet service, which enables consumers to make purchases and collect or redeem offers by tapping their Android smartphone at 300,000-plus MasterCard PayPass-enabled merchant terminals. The specifics behind the update are not clear: Android Market reports only "Small changes for device compatibility."
Late last year, Verizon stated it would ship the Galaxy Nexus without preloading Google Wallet: "Recent reports that Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on our devices are false. Verizon does not block applications," Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said at that time. "Google Wallet is different from other widely-available m-commerce services. Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications. Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones. We are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue."
Google Wallet first launched across Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) Nexus S smartphones running Android OS version 2.3.4. For now, only PayPass-enabled Citi MasterCards may be loaded to Google Wallet--consumers may also fund the Google Prepaid Card with any existing payment card. Debit cards are not eligible for Google Wallet at this time.
In October, Google Wallet expanded beyond point-of-sale purchases by introducing support for SingleTap, which enables consumers to redeem coupons and/or earn rewards points with one tap of their phone. Google Wallet users can now enter select U.S. retailer partners including American Eagle Outfitters, The Container Store, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy's, OfficeMax and Toys"R"Us to instantly save on in-store offers. Google is also partnering with the state of New Jersey to enable tap-and-pay rail and bus transit purchases at select locations.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless are teaming with T-Mobile USA to mount Isis, a rival NFC-enabled m-commerce network slated to begin commercial trials in early-to-mid 2012. Like Google Wallet, Isis promises services enabling consumers to conduct point-of-sale transactions, redeem coupons and use store merchant loyalty cards via mobile device. Isis has pledged to open its system to all interested credit issuers and banks; in July it welcomed financial services providers Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express to its ranks.
Availability across a diverse array of operator networks and handsets is imperative for services like Google Wallet and Isis to achieve critical mass. Six device manufacturers--HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Samsung Mobile and Sony Ericsson--have committed to introducing NFC-enabled devices that support Isis.
Verizon not preloading Google Wallet on Galaxy Nexus smartphone
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Google Wallet adds support for SingleTap coupon redemption