What better way to promote a new mobile wallet service than by sending a swarm of marketing people to stores and then having said marketeers offer to pay for strangers’ purchases? That’s exactly what Google recently did in New York and San Francisco, and guess what? It works. People flipped out, and rightly so, because they’ve never seen stuff like near field communication (NFC) based payment services in the wild. There have been credit cards with little chips in them that do wireless payment, but Google explicitly says in the video that putting your credit cards on your phone is akin to man’s most amazing accomplishment. What the video doesn’t show is people’s reaction to finding out that in order to use Google Wallet they have to sign up for Sprint and pick the only Google Wallet compatible phone that’s currently on the market. With time they’ll be more of said compatible devices out … but for now it’s a pretty weak lineup, if you even want to call it that.
So what’s Isis going to do to retaliate? Isis is the joint venture formed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon that aims to flip Google off and keep people from ceding even more personal information to the search engine giant. Trials are set to kick off during the middle of the year, and eventually it’ll be deployed by the end of 2012. Considering we’re unlikely to see a glut of NFC compatible devices hit the market until Qualcomm’s S4 family of chips starts shipping to manufactures, the video above is nothing more than a cock tease. Will the next iPhone come with NFC technology baked in? That’s another question that’s been floating around the office after the disappointing* launch of the iPhone 4S.
* = Disappointing to those of us who wanted a new case design and a larger screen.