updated 04:40 pm EDT, Wed June 22, 2011
Google chair talks Wallet on iPhone and adoption
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt in a speech at the Cannes Lions ad festival on Wednesday was more definite about the possibilities of Google Wallet on the iPhone. He effectively promised a port of the currently Android-only mobile payment system if the iPhone gained NFC support to use it. "Most vendors" have already said they planned to move to NFC, Schmidt said in a presentation caught by the FT and others.
The only regularly available NFC-aware smartphones in the US are the Nexus S and Nexus S 4G, but a number of companies have signed onboard. All of RIM's upcoming phones, like the BlackBerry Bold 9900, will have it built-in. Nokia's N9 and possibly its Windows Phone devices will have the short-range wireless. LG and Sony Ericsson have pledged their own support using Android. Apple has been rumored signing on but has seen contradictory rumors that it might wait until 2012.
On the prospects of the technology as a whole, Schmidt was anticipating as many as a third of checkouts at restaurants and stores would have NFC support within the next 12 months. The NFC readers and software were either ready or would be by the summer, and only the upgrade process was necessarily holding firms back, he said.
Such growth was large enough that the Google executive could see it being a tipping point for wider adoption and an industry worth a trillion dollars. Credit card agencies and stores had a strong interest in supporting NFC because it dramatically reduced the likelihood of fraud versus plastic, which could often be lost or abused by an employee.