Android Gingerbread phones to feature NFC payment tech

Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 12:56 by Tech Correspondent

The long awaited OS, Android 2.3 or Gingerbread, is to have built-in mobile payment technology made possible by Near Field Communication (NFC). This announcement was made by Google’s chief executive Eric Schmidt at the Web 2.0 Summit.

Schmidt also said that Gingerbread will be released in a couple of weeks. He demonstrated Gingerbread and Near Field Communication on a new Google Nexus S phone, which is a successor to the Nexus One. He said that the Nexus S will be the first Android phone to be enabled with NFC and that it will be available with T-Mobile.

NFC is another high-frequency, short-range wireless communication technology that enables exchange of data between devices in a secure mode. Schmidt said that because NFC is incorporated into Android Gingerbread, a device running the operating system will easily be able to make mobile payments. Related: Android Gingerbread tablets

google android gingerbread man photo

Users will have to do as little as wave the phone at a payment terminal to carry out a financial transaction. Google benefits from this because buying often comes naturally at the end of a Google search (like buying a movie ticket or air ticket). This would replace the use of a credit card or some other payment method online. A phone with NFC technology can handle search as well as purchase functions in a single device.

Widespread implementation of mobile payment technology has been slowed down by the hardware requirement in phones as well as retail stores and other payment terminals.

Over the next couple of years, this method of making payments will very likely gain traction in many parts of the world. There are rumors that both Nokia and Apple are working on adding this technology into their smartphones, and that AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are planning to offer this service in the near future.

Schmidt said people haven’t realized how much more powerful a cell phone can be over a desktop PC.

He also spoke of Chrome at the Web 2.0 Summit. Chrome is a browser-based operating system that still has seemingly failed to catch on. Schmidt defended Chrome, saying it wasn’t a failure and that it was meant for devices that have keyboards just the way that Android is meant for touchscreen devices.

Android OS was developed initially by a startup called Android that was involved in making software for mobiles and that Google bought in the summer of 2005. In 2007, Google announced the Android OS in association with the Open Handset Alliance, a large and open group of hardware, software and telecom companies that have been roped in by Google to participate in developing and distributing the Android operating system and applications.