Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
At first blush, Google has pulled off something pretty impressive with Google Wallet.It’s a secure way to handle payments and offers all in one place, like Foursquare meets Groupon meets MasterCard.
But right now, there’s a problem. There’s only one phone that works with Google Wallet and that’s the Nexus S.
And while there are thousands of PayPass terminals that take those “tap” payments, they don’t do much good if you don’t have a phone or card packing a NFC chip.
It all comes down to the hardware. If manufacturers don’t make phones with NFC chips, Google Wallet simply won’t take off. And that’s not even including adoption from non-Google platforms like iPhone, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. Good luck getting them on board.
That’s where the big problem for Google Wallet comes in. It’s not that the technology isn’t intuitive, it’s getting carriers and phone manufacturers to get on board too.
Google touted several big-name partners for Google Wallet at its event in New York today, but those barely scratch the surface. It’ll take more than Sprint — the nation’s third largest carrier — to really move the needle and convince manufacturers to adopt NFC in new phones.
And the other big three carriers already have a totally different mobile payments system called Isis. What are the chances they’d give that up in favour of Google Wallet?
That being said, Google is taking the right approach and rolling Google Wallet out slowly. It’s being tested in New York and San Francisco first, then rolling out to other cities after that.
It’s going to be an uphill battle for Google to get everyone else to adopt its system.
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