Google's Android racing against Apple's iOS to deliver tap-to-buy features

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The latest battle to emerge in the war between Google's Android and Apple's iOS is the race to add support for Near Field Communications, a chip that enables users to tap their phone to initiate secure transactions.



Google chief executive Eric Schmidt demonstrated a prototype Android phone at the Web 2.0 Summit today, focusing on features of the next major release of the Android OS, codenamed Gingerbread. A primary feature of the new release will be support for NFC, according to a report by TechCrunch.



Google plans to release Gingerbread "soon," with Schmidt saying it will happen within the next few weeks. The company released its last major distribution and SDK of Android OS 2.2 "Froyo" in May 2010, but Android phones are just now getting updated by the mix of hardware vendors and service providers who customize Android to their own handset and add layers of custom software, storefronts, and other bundled additions.



The addition of NFC to the upcoming Gingerbread release was a surprise, and particularly interesting because open software projects like Android can't really deliver surprises unless their development is not really open. Google effectively closes the open community of development on Android to deliver new releases with just a few select partners prior to delivering a major new release, at which point the software is again opened for volunteers to contribute towards.



Apple and NFC



Apple has been working to deliver NFC as an iPhone feature for at least a year, with reports of iPhone prototypes using RFID (Radio-Frequency IDentification) chips first surfacing last November.



This August, Apple hired Benjamin Vigier, who has been working with NFC technology since 2004. His previous role was project manager for mobile wallet, payment and NFC at mFoundry, a company that specializes in mobile payments.



In October, news broke that Apple had partnered with Gemalto, a Dutch security vendor involved in the NFC market, to deliver an open SIM that could be used to sell iPhones that work on any carrier, without requiring a SIM card tied to a specific one.



In addition to working across carriers and allowing users to select and activate service plans for their phone during the ordering process, the chip is also expected to provide NFC transaction features, authenticating users so they can make purchases directly from their phone without swiping a separate credit card. NFC is already widespread in some markets, including Japan.



Feature wars



Google has regularly added new features to Android to keep it differentiated from Apple's iPhone. It debuted support for a digital compass feature in the T-Mobile G1 in September 2008, a feature Apple later added to the iPhone 3GS the following summer. Google's partners also beat Apple in delivering higher resolution screens by about six months, although Apple's Retina Display on the iPhone 4 set a new standard in hardware.



Apple has pulled out some first features of its own, including iPhone 4's integrated FaceTime video conferencing and a 6-axis gyroscope. Apple and Google are also battling for supremacy in mobile ad sales, mobile software sales, music stores and streaming features, and support for enterprise features, where Android trails iOS significantly.



Apple and Google each have unique core strengths that enable them to either get features to market quicker (as Google does in partnering with multiple hardware vendors) or bring features to a large installed base faster (as Apple can in exercising control over the whole device platform).



Frenemies



Apple is also engaged in bidirectional patent disputes with Android vendors, including Motorola and HTC, but not with Google itself. Apple's partner in NFC, Gemalto, has sued Google directly for alleged infringement of its Java Card technology in Android, a suit that also names HTC, Samsung, and Motorola.



Google is also the target of a lawsuit by Oracle over the use of Java patents, a case that is not directly connected to Apple but does involve its close partner.



Apple and Google continue to partner in other areas, with Google supporting Apple's WebKit project and paying the company for directing search queries from Safari, both on the desktop and from iOS devices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,432member
    Let's be clear: Google doesn't actually debut anything by itself; they only push the software component. If Google sold a real, working product (hardware with software), Apple might have a huge intellectual property infringement case against them.



    and I am not a lawyer. so there.
  • Reply 2 of 33
    This update will require hardware, so all current apple and google os phones will not work. Apple will probably have this available next July. So the question is, can HTC or Motorola or whoever get it out that much quicker. I really don't care. I don't think i want a version 1.0 transaction phone be it iOS or Android. We're talking bank accounts here. Spooky stuff if they don't get it right.
  • Reply 3 of 33
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,401member
    I see a serious world of hurt in the making on this one. Considering the more wild-west nature of the Android ecosystem where malware apps are more prevalent, I can easily see hackers getting they garbage on a phone and next ringing up all kinds of charges without the user even knowing about it, except when they get the phone bill.



    This is where I think iOS will be the more secure route to go. Even though, I will wait for quite a while before even contemplating giving my phone access to my banking information.
  • Reply 4 of 33
    I bet:



    Apple enables, not overtly but by terminal etc, users to determine when RFID chips are scanning you.



    Google no way, your data shouldn't be private, if you think it should be private you shouldn't be doing it anyway (is there anything more big brother than that?).
  • Reply 5 of 33
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Google plans to release Gingerbread "soon," with Schmidt saying it will happen within the next few weeks. The company released its last major distribution and SDK of Android OS 2.2 "Froyo" in May 2010, but Android phones are just now getting updated by the mix of hardware vendors and service providers who customize Android to their own handset and add layers of custom software, storefronts, and other bundled additions.



    They are? Then why is my daughter's new Motorola phone (5 months old) still stuck on Android 1.5 - with no signs of anything newer and even Motorola doesn't promise that it will ever run 2.2?
  • Reply 6 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stevetim View Post


    I really don't care. I don't think i want a version 1.0 transaction phone be it iOS or Android. We're talking bank accounts here.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    Even though, I will wait for quite a while before even contemplating giving my phone access to my banking information.



    I think the idea is that charges will go through to either your iTunes account or your carrier.



    The phone doesn't actually know your credit card number.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    One of the impacts of the market downturn is that people in the US, on the average, use their credit cards much less. The savings rate has also increased since the market downturn.



    I see more people using cash these days, but that is very anecdotal, although some of the networks mentioned it awhile back.



    There is a slight uptick this holiday season, especially with the earlier holiday discounting (instead of waiting for the weekend after Thanksgiving.





    N.B. Except for Google search, YouTube and Google Translate, I try to avoid using Google products - I just don't like their privacy policies.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider


    Apple has pulled out some first features of its own, including iPhone 4's integrated FaceTime video conferencing ...



    Er, I believe the HTC Evo had video chatting first. Not that it matters, nor do I really care...just sayin’.
  • Reply 9 of 33
    Froyo has been out since, what, May? The latest stats show that barely a third of Android users are running it yet. It's going to take Google at least 6 months to get a sufficient number of users on 2.3 for this to matter.



    It's strange because Google, with a fully open source operating system, should be the fast and sneaky one in the smartphone market, but the reality is that they're slow and plodding and held back by the very openness that makes Android a compelling OS in the first place.



    I wonder how they will ever get around that. The only conceivable way is to force the hardware makers and telecoms into stricter licensing agreements, but then the Android ideal starts to look a lot more like the Windows PC circa 1995. I'm not sure Google and its users would warm to that model.



    EDIT: Before anyone jumps on me for guesswork, I was right. Android 2.2 is running on 36.2% of the devices out there.
  • Reply 10 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post


    I think the idea is that charges will go through to either your iTunes account or your carrier.



    The phone doesn't actually know your credit card number.



    If it knows my iTunes account it knows my banking account. What's the difference? If you are in proximity of an RFID device a transaction can occur. I will probably use the technology but I don't want to be on the bleeding edge of it.
  • Reply 11 of 33
    Cat and Mouse-Sometimes one is Tom, sometimes one is Jerry. Either way it's always entertaining!

  • Reply 12 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post


    N.B. Except for Google search, YouTube and Google Translate, I try to avoid using Google products - I just don't like their privacy policies.



    You're life is being sucked into Google even if you're not using their products; every time you load a page which has their ads or analytics (which is a huge percentage of all sites!), the big G is tracking you, my friend. Helpful hint: add this to your /etc/hosts file. It's not exhaustive, but a start:



    127.0.0.1 .doubleclick.net

    127.0.0.1 doubleclick.net

    127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net

    127.0.0.1 fls.doubleclick.net

    127.0.0.1 pubads.g.doubleclick.net

    127.0.0.1 www.google-analytics.com

    127.0.0.1 ssl.google-analytics.com

    127.0.0.1 video-stats.I.google.com

    127.0.0.1 googleads.g.doubleclick.net

    127.0.0.1 pagead2.googlesyndication.com

    127.0.0.1 pagead.googlesyndication.com



    And you don't really need to use google search either. Check out other options, like Ixquick, they're pretty good. If you do insist on searching w/google, use Firefox and the "Google Sharing" plugin.



    Just like "safe sex" we should all promote "safe search". Enjoy.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post


    And you don't really need to use google search either. Check out other options, like Ixquick, they're pretty good. If you do insist on searching w/google, use Firefox and the "Google Sharing" plugin.



    Just like "safe sex" we should all promote "safe search". Enjoy.



    Thanks for great recommendations. Never know such a add-on existed.







  • Reply 14 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stevetim View Post


    If it knows my iTunes account it knows my banking account. What's the difference?



    It might seem like the same thing at first but there is an important distinction.



    If someone has all of your bank account details they can go an buy themselves a $5000 TV, or clear out your account, or in the worst case, steal your identity.



    If all can they access if your iTunes account the worst they can do is make iTunes purchases online or more low-cost RFID purchases.
  • Reply 15 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post


    You're life is being sucked into Google even if you're not using their products; every time you load a page which has their ads or analytics (which is a huge percentage of all sites!), the big G is tracking you, my friend. Helpful hint: add this to your /etc/hosts file. It's not exhaustive, but a start:



    Or just go to http://www.google.com/privacy_ads.html and they tell you how to opt out.
  • Reply 16 of 33
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stevetim View Post


    If it knows my iTunes account it knows my banking account. What's the difference?



    If you don't plan to buy BMW with your iPhone then just use GC for your iTunes account. No need for bank information.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    tjwtjw Posts: 216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    Let's be clear: Google doesn't actually debut anything by itself; they only push the software component. If Google sold a real, working product (hardware with software), Apple might have a huge intellectual property infringement case against them.



    and I am not a lawyer. so there.



    And google would against apple too. Anyway looks like android is going to get NFC first
  • Reply 18 of 33
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Orlando View Post


    Or just go to http://www.google.com/privacy_ads.html and they tell you how to opt out.



    Is this the same as using GoogleSharing or is it still collecting my data but not using it YET?
  • Reply 19 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stevetim View Post


    If it knows my iTunes account it knows my banking account. What's the difference? If you are in proximity of an RFID device a transaction can occur. I will probably use the technology but I don't want to be on the bleeding edge of it.



    Dude, this technology has been used in the US for at least the past five years. Have you heard of pay pass from mastercard?



    http://www.paypass.com/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PayPass#PayPass



    Not to mention how long it has been in use in Japan. It's amazing how afraid some Americans are of these types of technology (I was until I moved to Europe). I guess the difference is that here in Denmark (the only place in Europe where I know this is a fact), the banks actually protect you against theft and fraudulent charges. Essentially every place where you can handle a money exchange you can use a credit card (though those special ones with the chip). Net banking is also so integrated into society that there is almost no reason to even go to a branch.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


    Is this the same as using GoogleSharing or is it still collecting my data but not using it YET?



    When you opt out, it works like Street View: they collect your data "inadvertently".



    Trusting Google to not track you is the proverbial fox guarding the hen house.
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