Being able to pay for your groceries with the swipe of your smartphone is certainly in the near future, as several companies are duking it out to be the first to offer a mobile payment system. According to Bloomberg, Google's offering may be revealed as early as this Thursday, May 26th.
Samsung's 5,000 strong Galaxy Tab 10.1 Limited Edition giveaway at Google I/O this week won them a few fans, but behind the scenes it seems there was plenty of controversy over who would get to give out freebies to the attending developers. Inside word among developers, Android coder Al Sutton tells us, is that HTC wanted to give every attendee an HTC Flyer as well as an unspecified smartphone from its range; however, Google decided to go with Samsung instead.
Using your smartphone as your wallet, and being able to ditch the plastic cards may be getting closer. Google has been showing for some time that it is actively pursuing expanding NFC in many areas, and it looks like they have taken another step in that direction. They are actively recruiting an EMEA head of commerce marketing, and planning on expanding that division. Eric Schmidt said earlier this year that one of Google's strategic initiatives is to support adoption of mobile payments for Android, and they are making progress with the Nexus S 4G out yesterday supporting NFC.
Google has been rolling out NFC (Near Field Communication) trials in various cities in its effort to eventually let your Android device replace your wallet. They are partnering up with outside companies to deliver not only NFC-enabled devices but also to help retailers prepare to take NFC transactions. A French point-of-sale device manufacturer, Ingenico, has confirmed that they are working with Google to develop NFC applications and terminals for retailers.
I'm many things and none of them is patient. I want what I want right now. Don’t judge, you know you are the same way. If you have a Nexus S smartphone and you have been checking over and over to see if the OTA update for your device to Android 2.3.4 was available for you yet, you can stop waiting. The official 2.3.4 update file has been found and you can get the directions for installing it manually below.
The front-facing camera on Android handsets like the Nexus S and Desire S haven't seen much official use yet; third-party video calling apps like Fring can use them, but video functionality in Google's own Gtalk has so far been limited to Android 3.0 Honeycomb on tablets. That may well change at Google I/O next month, however, with claims that a test build of Android 2.3.4 with video-capable Gtalk has been doing the rounds.
It appears that Google has chosen Identive's ACIG Technology subsidiary as their exclusive supplier of NFC stickers for at least one of the five major US cities receiving NFC window decals across America. ACIG Technology will be in charge of supplying these stickers while they're manufactured by another Identive Group company by the name of Smartag, which is based in Singapore. These stickers are approximately 80x50mm and are currently being handed out in a big push in Austin to re-promote the Places environment.
Google is reportedly partnering with MasterCard and Citigroup on NFC payment technology, using VeriFone NFC-enabled payment terminals to turn Android handsets into electronic wallets. According to the WSJ's sources, those with Citigroup-issued debit and credit cards would be able to use a new Android app - initially for the Nexus S, but then for subsequent NFC-equipped phones - rather than their physical cards when the service launches later in 2011.
The Integrated Google Voice functionality announced alongside the Sprint Nexus S 4G will be available to all Sprint CDMA handsets, regardless of whether or not they run Android. The carrier has signed a deal with Google that will see them offer subscribers the opportunity to use their Sprint number with Google Voice, no porting required, as well as using Google's voicemail transcription service.
The Sprint Nexus S 4G has been made official this morning, the first Android 2.3 Gingerbread smartphone with 4G WiMAX support, and the first to bring the new Integrated Google Voice Experience to Sprint Android devices. The same Nexus S handset as we've seen from Google before, only with the added benefit of WiMAX connectivity, the Nexus S 4G will allow existing Sprint subscribers to use their current number as their Google Voice number, without having to pay to port it over.