updated 08:10 pm EDT, Mon October 22, 2012
iPhone support would require major changes to the program
Google has deployed a new version of its website for Google Wallet, saying that the next version of mobile payment service is "coming soon." Visitors can request an invitation to the new service, and are presented with a device choice, either Android, other, or iPhone, suggesting Google is planning a departure from special hardware requirements on Android phones. The move may serve to enhance Google Wallet's acceptance in both the consumer base as well as merchants.
Details of a potential new upgrade are unavailable at the moment. If the iPhone is to be supported, then the hardware-based near-field communication requirement for the service would have to be lifted. At present, there are only six smartphones that can run the Google Wallet app.
Google Wallet has seen a 100-percent increase in use in the last two months. The company is putting the change in user numbers down to the recent revision of the app, adding support for all credit and debit cards available to customers, and an increase in locations across the US accepting NFC-based payments.
Although the improvements to Google Wallet are increasing the amount of users with a potential move to non-specific hardware adding yet more, the service still has some way to go before it could be seen as a normal and widely accepted. There are currently over 10 million payment terminals in the US, but the MasterCard PayPass system it uses only exists in only 200,000 retail locations.