Google has updated its support pages and started sending out emails to alert users of Google Wallet to an upcoming change in the way NFC payments work. As of April 14th, tap and pay will require KitKat or higher. Older devices will no longer be supported after that date.
The reason for the change is Google's desire to only use Host Card Emulation (HCE) to make NFC payments work. That feature was introduced in Android 4.4, so it's the end of the line for Jelly Bean and earlier devices. Read More
Certainly, the addition of NFC functionality into Android has been behind a plethora of useful features in recent years, from mobile payments to beaming files between devices. Unfortunately, for some users who updated their Nexus devices to KitKat, the NFC service which powers all these cool features dies repeatedly, and renders any functions tied to it useless. The good news is, Google has apparently found the root cause of the problem and has marked it to be fixed in a future release. Read More
Nearly every Android device available has NFC these days, but how often do you have a tag around to take advantage of it? Maybe this realization is what drove last year's NFC Ring Kickstarter campaign into multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. Well, the rings have been making their way out to backers and pre-orders are going live for everyone on March 11th. Let's take a look at how this unusual accessory works. Read More
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. Read More
That Google Wallet icon is looking awfully lonely in Android 4.4's Tap and Pay menu. Twin announcements from Visa and MasterCard could finally mean a few more options for NFC payments on Android, though. Both payment technology firms will be providing tools for card issuers to support Host Card Emulation (HCE) on user accounts.
This doesn't mean that all your Visa and MasterCard accounts are going to magically start working with HCE, but some of them might in the not too distant future. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
Most US carriers eschewed Google Wallet in favor of ISIS, which has only just arrived after years of waiting. Totally reasonable, right? In an apparent effort to smooth things over, ISIS is offering 20% cash back on purchases, but it takes some setup.
Remember when everyone was pissed off that the Verizon version of the Galaxy Nexus couldn't use Google Wallet because of "security concerns"? ISIS Mobile Wallet, the alternative carrier-sponsored NFC payment system (and the reason that last sentence was equipped with sarcastic quote marks) is finally available, just two years after Google Wallet was coincidentally blocked by the carriers that are pushing ISIS. Nice work there, fellas.
ISIS has been in a beta testing mode in limited markets for just over a year - the necessary Android apps have been available on the Google Play Store since then. Read More
A new update to Google+ is currently rolling out, and when it hits your device, not only will it bring along the usual bug fixes and performance increases, it will contain a number of new features. The Photos app now supports Android Beam, so two Android owners can share images with one another over NFC. There is also the new option to set images within Photos as a Daydream that plays whenever a device is docked. Read More