Shipments of NFC-enabled handsets reached 30 million units in 2011

By on March 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM.

Shipments of NFC-enabled handsets reached 30 million units in 2011

Global sales of NFC-equipped smartphones increased tenfold to 30 million units in 2011, according to a report from Berg Insight. The research firm estimates that by 2016 there will more than 700 million handsets with NFC capabilities. In 2011, several leading handset vendors released more than 40 NFC-enabled devices. “Even though it will take some time before the stakeholders agree on business models for payment networks, other use cases such as reading tags and easy pairing of devices may well be compelling enough for handset vendors to integrate NFC in mid- and high-end devices already today,” said André Malm, a senior analyst at Berg Insight. Google has already launched its Wallet service, as Apple, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile ready their own payment platforms. Previous estimates stated that more than 50% of all smartphones will be NFC enabled in the next two to three years with the help of Apple’s upcoming iPhone, which has long been rumored to include the technology. Read on for Berg Insight’s press release. More →

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Prepaid cards return to Google Wallet; Google apologizes with free $5 credit

By on March 22, 2012 at 7:35 AM.

Prepaid cards return to Google Wallet; Google apologizes with free $5 credit

Google temporarily disabled the use of prepaid cards with its Wallet service last month as a precautionary measure following the discovery of several security threats. In an email obtained by Droid-Life, Google announced that its Wallet service has been updated and the newest version allows users to again add prepaid cards. “We are happy to announce that you can now add the Google Prepaid Card back to your wallet with the newest version of Google Wallet, and any funds that you previously had on the card should be restored, unless you contacted Money Network and asked for a refund of those funds,” the email read. “To add the Google Prepaid Card back, you will first need to update your Google Wallet application to the most recent version.” The company acknowledged the inconvenience of the situation and will credit Wallet users with an additional $5 for their patience. Google’s email follows below. More →

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Google may share Google Wallet revenue with carriers to spur adoption

By on March 21, 2012 at 4:00 PM.

Google may share Google Wallet revenue with carriers to spur adoption

Google’s mobile payment service has gotten a fair amount of attention from the media, but user and partner adoption has been slow since the service was unveiled nearly a year ago. Google Wallet is the Internet giant’s eWallet offering, which incorporates NFC technology and allows users to pay for purchases using their Android smartphones rather than physical credit cards. According to Bloomberg, Google is now rethinking its service in an effort to bolster adoption. Citing multiple unnamed sources, the site claims Google is currently weighing the possibility of implementing a revenue-sharing model that would give wireless carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T a cut of Google’s fees when subscribers make purchases using their Google Wallet-enabled devices. “They are in a bit of a re-evaluation pattern right now,” Aite Group analyst Rick Oglesby told Bloomberg. “It’s going much slower than anticipated.” More →

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PayPal announces ‘PayPal Here’ iPhone payment system to compete with Square

By on March 15, 2012 at 9:55 PM.

PayPal announces ‘PayPal Here’ iPhone payment system to compete with Square

PayPal on Thursday unveiled “PayPal Here,” a small accessory similar to the solution offered by Square, that can be used to accept credit card payments on an iPhone. The reader is a large blue triangle that connects to the top of an iPhone through the headphone jack. With the help of the “PayPal Here” iOS app, a merchant can input a sum and have a consumer swipe his or her credit or debit card to make payments. PayPal’s app also features a “Scan Card” feature, which uses the iPhone’s camera to record a credit card number or even a check. The app can track invoices and cash payments, and be used with checks, credit cards and debit cards. PayPal Here comes on the heels of the company’s unveiling of an upcoming digital wallet service that looks to compete with Google Wallet. More →

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Sprint to launch 10 handsets with Google Wallet support in 2012

By on March 2, 2012 at 9:30 PM.

Sprint to launch 10 handsets with Google Wallet support in 2012

Google announced at the Mobile Money: Delivering Innovative Mobile Payment Services panel during Mobile World Congress that Sprint will introduce “at least 10 additional phones” with Google Wallet support in 2012, Fierce Mobile Content reported on Thursday. The Samsung Nexus S 4G is the only smartphone currently offered by the carrier that supports Google’s NFC mobile payment system. Both the Galaxy Nexus and the LG Viper will launch with Wallet support later this year, however, and Osama Bedier, vice president of Google Wallet and Payments, said Google is continuing talks with other carriers, device manufacturers, banks, financial service providers and point-of-sale technology vendors to further extend the company’s Wallet network. More →

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Visa announces new mobile payment solution

By on February 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM.

Visa announces new mobile payment solution

Visa on Monday announced a “one-stop” mobile payment solution that looks to compete directly with Google Wallet and the carrier-backed ISIS payment system. After a consumer purchases a “Visa-certified” NFC-equipped smartphone, he or she can contact the company and activate the handset for mobile payments. The device will be securely linked with a user’s bank account and can then be used to make mobile payments anywhere Visa’s payWave system is accepted. “In the same way we have enabled the secure provisioning of payment cards for decades, we are now using mobile technology to securely provision mobile payment accounts over the air,” Visa’s Head of Mobile Products Bill Gajda said. “Financial institutions, mobile network operators, and even transit operators now have a simple, secure process to activate payment applications at scale and make mobile payments part of everyday life for consumers around the world.” The company announced that Intel Atom-powered smartphones and tablets will be the first Visa-certified devices to allow mobile subscribers to securely make NFC purchases. Read on for the company’s press release. More →

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Google Wallet competitor ISIS finally announces launch details

By on February 27, 2012 at 3:45 PM.

Google Wallet competitor ISIS finally announces launch details

Mobile payment joint venture ISIS, a partnership between Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, on Monday announced launch partners and availability. The service will become available in mid-2012 starting with locations across Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas. Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard have entered into agreements to offer credit, debit and prepaid cards alongside the service. “Today’s announcement is testament to the vision and commitment of Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard to make mobile commerce a real and positive experience for their customers,” said Michael Abbott, CEO of ISIS. “Mobile commerce is more than a new way to pay; it’s about extending the relationships consumers enjoy with their banks and merchants into a powerful and convenient new form factor.” Read on for the company’s press release. More →

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Google Wallet prepaid service re-enabled after security fix

By on February 15, 2012 at 9:45 PM.

Google Wallet prepaid service re-enabled after security fix

Last week, two exploits concerning Google Wallet left users questioning the service’s security. One of the exploits allowed hackers to bypass PIN protection, but it was only present on rooted devices. A second exploit, however, did not require a handset to be rooted, leaving all Google Wallet users exposed. The company maintained that the service was secure but as a precautionary measure it disabled its prepaid card services, but Google announced on Tuesday that it has patched Wallet and has fixed the vulnerability. Security firm zVelo, however, is not satisfied with Google’s efforts. While the Mountain View-based company has suggested that users with rooted handsets don’t use Google Wallet, zVelo insists that a person can steal an Android phone and then root, thus performing the exploit to bypass the PIN. As an extra layer of security, it is recommended that users configure a passcode to protect their devices from unwanted access. More →

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Google promises Wallet is now safe, disables prepaid cards

By on February 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM.

Google promises Wallet is now safe, disables prepaid cards

Two recently uncovered security exploits concerning Google Wallet have left users questioning just how safe the product really is. A security firm exposed a vulnerability last week that allowed hackers to bypass PIN protection, but it was only present on rooted devices. A second exploit, however, did not require a handset to be rooted, leaving all Google Wallet users exposed. By wiping stored Google Wallet data from within a device’s settings, an unauthorized user will be able to access a user’s prepaid funds without needing to know his or her Google Wallet pin. The company has acknowledged both security exploits, and it now says Google Wallet is safe and “offers advantages over the plastic cards and folded wallets in use today.” Read on for more. More →

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Google Wallet hacked again; new exploit doesn’t need root access [video]

By on February 10, 2012 at 8:10 AM.

Google Wallet hacked again; new exploit doesn’t need root access [video]

A new exploit has been discovered that allows unauthorized access to a user’s Google Wallet account with a simple hack that can be performed by anyone in a matter of minutes. A security firm recently exposed a Google Wallet vulnerability that allowed hackers to bypass PIN protection, but the vulnerability is only present on rooted Galaxy Nexus handsets. This new exploit, however, does not require a handset to be rooted, which leaves all Google Wallet users exposed. Read on for more. More →

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Hackers crack Google Wallet security on rooted Galaxy Nexus [video]

By on February 9, 2012 at 9:50 PM.

Hackers crack Google Wallet security on rooted Galaxy Nexus [video]

The security experts at zVelo have discovered a vulnerability in Google Wallet that allows them to “easily reveal” users’ PINs. If a Google Nexus is rooted, Google Wallet’s PIN verification system can be cracked using a brute force attack. zVelo said on Wednesday that it immediately reported its findings to Google, and the company “agreed to work quickly to resolve it,” although the researchers said Google “ran into obstacles.” To fix the problem, the PIN verification must be moved into the secure element of the NFC chip in a device, however to do so Google must apparently coordinate with banks. Moreover, changing the way a PIN is stored will also change which company is responsible for its security. Read on for more. More →

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Google Wallet hacked to run on Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus

By on December 16, 2011 at 11:21 AM.

Google Wallet hacked to run on Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus

We were able to successfully get Google Wallet running on the HSPA+ version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus without too much trouble, but the big news over the past few weeks was that Verizon would be blocking the app from its version of the hotly anticipated handset. Well, if you don’t mind rooting your phone and following a relatively simple guide, there’s now a way to get Google Wallet functioning just fine on Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus. It’s going to most likely violate Google Wallet’s terms of service, but we got it up and running on our review unit with no problems. There is also the complimentary $10 Google prepaid card, so it looks like we’ll be off to CVS for some of those peach rings in a few minutes. Images of Google Wallet running on Verizon Wireless’s Samsung Galaxy Nexus follow below. More →

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Intel inks deal with French NFC chip maker

By on December 14, 2011 at 11:45 PM.

Intel inks deal with French NFC chip maker

Intel doesn’t have much of a presence in the mobile phone market right now, but that could change soon. The Santa Clara-based company announced recently that it has reached a deal with Inside Secure in which the French chip maker will supply Intel with NFC chips for upcoming products. “We are highly interested in NFC but we are not announcing any product plans at this time,” an Intel spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal, noting that Intel might include Inside Secure’s technology in future reference designs. Google Wallet emerged as one of the first NFC-based mobile payment systems to launch in the United States, but it’s only available on one handset, the Nexus S, and is only currently supported by Sprint. Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T have invested in a joint initiative called ISIS that is only in the testing phase right now, although Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam said ISIS will begin a “significant rollout” in the coming year. More →

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