While we still have virtually no details about what Google's alleged follow-up to the Nexus One phone will be able to do, thanks to a presentation from CEO Eric Schmidt yesterday, we're pretty sure that mobile payments is at the top of the list. Schmidt showed off a device that was obscured so as not to reveal the manufacturer or other specifics. What he did demonstrate was that it was running Android 2.3, the latest version of the mobile operating system, and that it is able to function as a mobile payment solution.
The device has what's called a Near Field Communication chip, which could replace credit cards for point-of-sale transaction payments.
"This could replace your credit card," said Schmidt. It will assumedly become a regular feature for future phones. Any device with an NFC chip and Android 2.3 could function as a mobile payment device.
Mobile payments are being looked at by a whole bunch of players in the mobile segment. Right now, the credit card oligopoly has an exclusive hold on cashless retail payments in the US. There is no alternative, period. Google is the frontrunner on the technology lines to change that.
Of course, the next step is to get retailers on board. That shouldn't be too difficult of a process, as long as Google is able to entice them with lower fees than the credit card companies currently charge.
During Schmidt's presentation, he also confirmed that Android 2.3 will be rolling out in the "next few weeks," providing the first solid timeline for the new OS. It had been expected, however, that 2.3 would become available a couple weeks ago and it's believed there were internal delays preventing that from happening.