Apple & Google Developing "Wallet Phones"


Plastic credit cards may soon feel as antiquated as phone books and typewriters.  Last week, Starbucks debuted a new app that lets users pay for their coffees by scanning their phones at the register. And today, Bloomberg reports that Apple will add what’s called “Near-Field Communication” functionality to its iPhone and iPad — which would allow users to make mobile payments directly from their devices.  NFC basically enables two machines — the iPad and the cash register — to “communicate” by quickly beaming data across a short distance.

Never one to be left behind in the tech race, Google is also interested in NFC. The next iteration of its Android phone, dubbed “Gingerbread,” reportedly will have NFC chips built in.

Though tech companies and mobile corporations are eager to make this futuristic-seeming technology a reality, setting up a mobile payment infrastructure will take some time. As InformationWeek writes, “In order to make payments via NFC, an entire ecosystem of players must cooperate. That includes network operators, handset makers, banks, credit card companies, application developers, and so on.”

Considering the amount of money to be made from doing all this successfully, we’re sure that these parties will find a way to work together.