Remember when Google made a whole bunch of noise about their new mobile payments service and how they were going to render your old leather bifold absolutely useless? That never really happened. It’s been nearly 3 months since Google unveiled Google Wallet and it still only ships on one device (the Nexus S), is still only supported by one operator (Sprint), and still integrates with just one bank (Citi). Why the holdup? AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon formed a joint venture called ISIS way back in November 2010 that promised to be the ultimate mobile payments solution. Instead of ceding control of their customers to Google, which some might say they’ve already done to a certain degree thanks to the Android phones they peddle in their stores, ISIS would be a platform that everyone could latch onto to provide the best possible user experience. The first trials of ISIS are due to take place during the summer of 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas.
So what about the Galaxy Nexus? It’s a Google Phone, so it’s assumed that it’ll ship with Google Wallet … or at least that’s what you’d think. The folks at ComputerWorld contacted Google to figure out about the Google Wallet situation, and they said that the Verizon Nexus will not have it installed because that’s how Verizon wanted things to be. Whether or not you’ll be able to install the Google Wallet app on your own hasn’t been established, but we can’t imagine Verizon wanting to block that ability. If they did it would cause such a shit storm that it’s simply not worth it.
If this story has any lesson you can take away, it’s this: Always, always, always buy your phone unlocked and unbranded, because if you don’t then you’ll have to deal with whatever shady things your operator has done to your subsidized smartphone. Things like removing product features such as tethering, loading up bloatware that you can’t uninstall, and now we’re just finding out about Carrier IQ.