Smartphone fans rejoiced when Samsung announced the Galaxy Nexus last month, which is on the way to Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and other carriers.
One of the cool new features on the Galaxy Nexus is the inclusion of NFC technology. Google is highlighting Android Beam, which allows Android users to share information between devices and NFC enabled Google Maps features, but is being quiet on the most exciting use of NFC technology – making payments with Google Wallet.
Launched back in May, Google Wallet is on a cross country tour, trying to spark adoption of the service that marries your credit cards to your smartphone, allowing you to tap your phone on a PayPass terminal to pay for your purchases. Currently the only phone that supports Google Wallet is the Nexus S 4G on Sprint. You can see what Google Wallet can do in the video below.
Can Google Wallet Work on the Galaxy Nexus?
From a hardware standpoint, there is no reason why the Galaxy Nexus can’t support Google Wallet. The phone has a NFC chip, made by NXP, the same company that made the NFC chip in the Nexus S. Importantly, the chip has an embedded secure element, which is how Google Wallet keeps your credit card information secure.
According to NFCNews.com, this chip will allow the Galaxy Nexus to us Google Wallet and other payment apps. The chip is reportedly integrated with Android 4.0, and NXP is providing open source NFC software to spur the creation of NFC Android devices.
Will the Galaxy Nexus Support Google Wallet?
The better question is, will the Galaxy Nexus work with Google Wallet? Unfortunately, that isn’t as clear cut. Like anything in the mobile industry, there are a number of partnerships and wallets to deal with before the end user can use Google Wallet to check out.
There was no mention of Google Wallet at the Galaxy Nexus announcement, and no mention of the service on the Google Nexus landing page either.
While many people expect the Nexus devices to have access to the newest Google apps and updates, there is no promise that the Galaxy Nexus will have Google Wallet. One reason that might prevent the Galaxy Nexus from being your digital wallet is Isis.
Isis is a digital wallet system, designed to compete with Google Wallet. More important to note, is that Isis is backed by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile — the biggest U.S. carriers of the Galaxy Nexus. After pumping 100 million into the Isis venture, the carriers may not be keen on letting Google Wallet on to the Galaxy Nexus.
Official Word on Google Wallet for the Galaxy Nexus
We reached out to Verizon and Google to find out what was going on with Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus, but didn’t learn much.
Google replied, saying, “We don’t have anything to announce on either front at this time.” and Verizon is still looking in to the request.
The Galaxy Nexus is still an impressive looking phone, perhaps better than the iPhone in some areas, but if you need Google Wallet, you should wait for an official announcement before buying the new Nexus.