After having launched Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the Samsung-made Nexus S with near field communications, or NFC, technology support, Google is looking to make a bigger push into the digital wallet market. Google is looking to expand its mobile wallet endeavors through the hire of an ““EMEA head of commerce marketing” will we be required to hire two commerce product marketing managers, expanding the division,” according to The Next Web.
NFC, though not exclusively used in digital wallets, which merely means using your smartphone to pay for physical goods, has been closely associated with the emerging digital wallet market, especially in the U.S. NFC chips embedded within a phone, for example, can help to transmit and send payment data when tagged next to an NFC reader, much like the process of swiping a credit card but the idea is that since you always carry your cell phone with you, with an NFC phone you can hopefully replace your wallet with your phone and just carry one item between the two.
Given the company’s early push in the U.S. mobile market with NFC support, it’s unclear still what Google’s plans are to create a digital wallet ecosystem. Other rivals in the market include other cell phone makers like Nokia and BlackBerry, other platforms, other payment services like PayPal, carriers, financial banks and institutions, and credit card companies.
Most recently, Isis, a joint partnership between U.S. carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, had announced that instead of trying to forge its own mechanism for routing payments and money, it would now form a system that would include credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard. The old Isis proposal was to use Discover, which has its own credit card but is less widely accepted, to be the major processing partner. Charges were said to appear on a user’s phone bill, for example. However, it is speculated that with limited acceptance for Discover, Isis had to modify its attempts to include credit card companies rather than shutting them out to gain more traction.
Google, currently, already operates an online payment network that rivals PayPal in the form of Google Checkout. That can also be a component to Google’s NFC plans.
Smartphones were once thought to be the ultimate convergence device that integrated the functionality of a phone with a PDA. Since the smartphone category had effectively killed off the PDA category, the platform has encroached on other markets, such as the PMP market, video market, portable digital still and video camera segment, and now your own wallet.