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I blog about things that interest me in mobile commerce. They appear below as links:

On the road with Google Wallet

I rode about 900 miles in the last four days, cutting across Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to be together with my family for Christmas. I figured this would be a good time to put my new Galaxy Nexus and the Google Wallet app through its paces. Following are my impressions from it, which as a whole was very cool and satisfying. But (and there is always a but..) it also brought to surface some serious handicaps, which though not Google’s fault, could bring its wallet initiative down like a lead balloon. Continue reading

Retailers – Wake up and smell the napalm

Amazon seems unstoppable. The online juggernaut is poised to grab additional market share from local retailers this holiday season by equipping its smartphone app with a $15 incentive (or call it what it is – a bribe) for customers. It is available to anyone who while perusing the aisles of a local retailer in search of their object of desire, instead of adding it their cart, scans the barcode, finds it on Amazon and buys it outright from the online retailer. Something equivalent to being enticed to use your wife’s cellphone to call your love interest. This surely has infuriated the ranks of retailers (even those with an online presence but have a bone to pick with Amazon) and has led to cries of unfair practices. The fact that Amazon does not have to worry about paying sales tax (outside of California at least) adds more fuel to the fire. Continue reading

Trouble brewing for Google Wallet

I believe in Google’s capability to actually pull off mobile payments. I believe they do get it. With all its initial failings, its misplaced loyalty towards NFC and the existing payment rails, I believe they truly have a shot at fixing payments and closing the loop in local commerce. Let’s look at what is going right for them: Android is fast becoming the dominant ecosystem on mobile, with over 200 Million devices so far, and 550k activations happening each day. They have made Android a force of nature, that is now slowly eating away at Apple’s market share. They have a mobile wallet initiative out at front, at least more than a year before the closest competitor they have – in Isis. They have had some notable successes with retailers (for e.g. Gap) and has partnered with NJ transit for payments. Formidable partnerships with Citi, FirstData and MC should be all that is enough to prod more issuers in to joining Google Wallet. Despite all this momentum, Google Wallet does not seem to be having a good day so far. Continue reading

Apple’s disruption of the Point-Of-Sale

Apparently, rumors are abound that Apple may be planning to launch an update to its retail store iOS app that will allow consumers to utilize self-checkout for purchases of accessories and other shelf-stocked items at the company’s retail stores. I believe that with this move, Apple is taking the first step to disrupting the POS, starting with its own stores. This may be Apple’s first volley in to the emerging payments space, at the same time drawing a clear distinction between itself and other stakeholders who has invested in mobile commerce. Continue reading

Google Wallet: A missed opportunity?

Google Wallet launched not so long ago, to a mobile payments ecosystem that is already fragmented and fraught with uncertainty. Instead of proving to be a disruptive innovator in the payments space, Google chose to partner with its entrenched incumbents. Instead of eliminating the point of sale experience altogether, it chose to be overly reliant on NFC at the point of sale, with very little progress to show for it. Continue reading