As Android 4.4/KitKat updates begin rolling out to devices on all the major US carriers, one frequently asked question has to do with whether or not these devices will include Android's new "Tap and Pay" feature. This was one of the major additions in KitKat and allows almost any device with an NFC chip to be used for "tap and go" mobile payments, even if said chip doesn't have a built-in secure element.
Heads up, Google Wallet fans: better support for loyalty cards is coming to a Play Store update near you. According to a Google+ update from the Wallet team earlier today, the app will soon be able to auto-populate information when scanning in loyalty cards, presumably including the name and merchant. The update should be coming later this week, at least for the first batch of users. There are also some user interface changes, including a modified slide-out menu.
The new update to Google Wallet makes a big change to the app's functionality – it now supports Tap & Pay on all KitKat devices with NFC. Previously, only the Wallet app from the Nexus 5 enabled this feature, but now it's rolling out to everyone.
Devices like the Moto X (only the updated versions) and Nexus 7 now support this functionality with the stock software, but even devices running AOSP-based Android 4.4 ROMs can make use of Tap & Pay.
Remember how the physical Google Wallet card showed up in some APK teardowns only to be removed without a word from Google? Well, it's back and you can place an order for it right now. Google says the card should be delivered to interested parties in 10-12 days.
The Wallet card will let you pay for items at any retailer, even those that don't have the little NFC kiosks Wallet has thus far relied upon.
Earlier today, a post on the Chrome Releases blog announced Chrome 31 is moving from beta to the stable. The update is coming in with a number of exciting features, including: printing from Chrome on devices with KitKat, support for requestAutocomplete to auto-fill payment details with online stores, 'Add to home screen' for web apps, and more.
If you've been following along with the beta channel, you're probably already familiar with a few of these changes.
We were ridiculously excited by the prospect of a physical Google Wallet card when we reported on it just over a year ago, but six months went by without a peep until eventually the project was canned. Thankfully, awesome ideas don't disappear just because one company decides it's not ready to make them happen. Coin, a startup out of San Francisco, has announced a card of its own that promises to deliver much of what we were excited to see Google pull off themselves.
Google Wallet got off to a rough start. Carriers didn't want to support it for various reasons, it only worked on certain devices ... it was really just a big mess. As time passed, it didn't get much better, either. Today, however, Google is looking to change everything when it comes to Wallet. It's rolling out v2.0 of the app that brings a slew of new features, as well as making it available for basically all Android phones running Gingerbread (2.3) and higher.
Since its inception, things have been tough for Google Wallet. Adoption hasn't been great, many carriers have blocked its use, and the rollout of new features hasn't gone as smoothly as one would hope. In short, it's been a long, hard road for such an initially promising product.
While we've already seen Google cut support for the prepaid Wallet card, the company has now decided to ax NFC redemption of gift and loyalty cards as of August 21st.
The Isis mobile payment platform backed by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile hasn't exactly taken off, but that's to be expected: today it's only available as a trial program in Austin and Salt Lake City. The latest press release from Isis announces that the NFC-powered platform will expand nationwide later this year, though a specific date was not mentioned. Isis is widely regarded as the reason that Google Wallet remains inaccessible to most Android users on the networks of its three founding companies.
The new Nexus 7 does not support Google Wallet - officially. Why? It lacks the hardware component necessary to securely store your payment credentials for NFC transactions, aka the "secure element." The AT&T and Google Play Edition HTC Ones don't have this element, either.
The latter, to me, is something I can understand finding a bit annoying. The former, though - that being the new Nexus 7 - really isn't.