Apple leads, the rest follow: Google dumps NFC requirement in Google Wallet app

“Today, Google announced it’s rolling out a new version of the Google Wallet app for all phones running Android 2.3 or higher. This makes the app compatible with the majority of Android handsets,” Ron Amadeo reports for Ars Technica. “Previously the app required an NFC chip with a secure element, something only Nexus devices and about 12 other phones had.”

“What Google has done is add features that non-NFC equipped phones can use,” Amadeo reports. “You can now send money to an e-mail address, just like PayPal.”

Amadeo reports, “Since Wallet no longer requires NFC, there’s no reason for it to be Android-only anymore. We wouldn’t be surprised to see an iOS app (assuming Apple allows it) sometime soon.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When Apple decides not to anoint, it’s Not For Commerce.

Related articles:
Apple’s NFC killer: iOS 7′s iBeacons – September 11, 2013
iBeacons may prove to be Apple’s biggest new feature for iOS 7 – August 29, 2013
Apple v. Android: Bang per watt – Apple’s massive advantage – August 13, 2013
Apple’s Passbook strategy eschews NFC hardware to power iOS 6 retail apps – September 4, 2012


  1. NFC, Not For Consumers perhaps. RFID technology does have a multitude of applications in commerce and various industries. Lets not throw away the baby with the bath water.

    Cheap IDs (a few cents each), that you can throw away, go a long way in making goods tracking affordable even if readers are expensive. Expensive IDs with expensive readers, not so much.

    1. RFIDs will have their place in retail, wholesale and manufacturing sectors, but NFC has been dead for years. Neither retailers nor consumers have been willing to invest in the technology. Apple will simply bypass NFC by using Touch ID combined with Passport-enabled similar to the Starbucks app. Expand that to debit and credit cards, and everything you need is already on the iPhone 5S.

  2. I strongly suggest that you read the following articles about Apple’s iBeacon technology and initiative versus NFC:

    Mike Elgan’s article on iBeacon, “Why Apple’s ‘Indoor GPS’ plan is brilliant”

    Daniel Eran Dilger’s article, “iBeacons enhance apps location”

    They will help you understand what iBeacon is, its promise and why it matters. While NFC has gotten traction in Europe and Japan, iBeacon has, in my opinion, much greater potential. Already, its capabilities have been quietly planted on over 200 million iPhones and iPads worldwide. The challenge for Apple will be to successfully evangelize iBeacon with major worldwide retailers, health care systems, museums, airport and stadium facilities, amusement parks, museums and other locations where the secure broadcasting of data to iPhones and iPhones to readers for transactions and information (such as at a Starbucks, a subway, a movie theatre, a museum and more) could have tremendous benefits for both businesses and consumers.

    Coupled with the new TouchID technology on the iPhone 5S (and on future iPads and iPhones), along with the Apple Passbook feature, iBeacon could herald secure, frictionless and cashless transactions, the ability to find a physician’s location within a hospital in case of an emergency, and even the ability to immediately learn about a gallery of art within a museum as you walk through it. These are but a few examples.

    NFC by contrast is much more limited. The manner in which Google rolled out NFC on Android phones is not as effective as Apple by a long shot. While pundits assumed Apple was doing nothing, Apple had been quietly seeding iBeacon’s capabilities on millions of iDevices for a long time. My conclusion is that Apple decided against NFC. And if you read the linked articles above, you will understand why.

    The trick will be getting companies like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Costco, as well as major banks on board with this. While Apple is taking the lead in spreading the capabilities of low power Bluetooth (iBeacon), it is a budding standard not unlike WiFi or USB. Apple will need to partner with many other companies, even competitors, to make iBeacon the accepted standard. If it does, we will all win, and Apple will too.

    1. Apple doesn’t need credit card companies to get on board. The whole retail/iBeacon infrastructure can working with existing iTunes credit authorization.

      You walk up to a register with an iBeacon and now your iPhone knows precisely where you are. The register sends the transaction info to your iPhone and you authorize it with your standard iTunes Store authorization (optionally with TouchID).

      Highly secure since you need a) to be in the store at the register and b) provide your iTunes authentication.

  3. I knew Tim was only playing plain jokes to android. Apple submitted a patent for payments with NFC a long time ago, but that was just to have google and Sammy starting with their “Panic Products” just like they did with the “smart TV” and the “iWatch cloners”
    The cone wars!!!

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