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Google planning m-commerce focus for next Android OS

19 November 2010 - 12:38 by Paul Tissington

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Google is set to launch Android 2.3, also known as Gingerbread, with news suggesting that this updated mobile operating system will make near field communication (NFC) an integral aspect of future smartphones based on this platform.

With NFC technology integrated into mobiles, the world of m-commerce will become far more flexible and complex than ever before.

At the moment, most smartphones will allow users to enjoy safe shopping online via retailer apps, as well as letting them display vouchers and tickets for discounts and gig entry. With NFC onboard, users will be able to think of their mobiles as a digital wallet which can be placed near to a compatible payment station in order to buy products or pay for services, essentially replacing credit and debit cards.

Obviously in order to make payments, the details of the user's payment card will need to be linked to the handset, but once this is complete the process of using m-commerce from day to day will be easier than ever before.

Although there might be concerns about the security of storing card details on mobile handsets, many experts believe that this technology will be safer than carrying around chip and pin payment cards, which earns m-commerce and NFC another point in this debate.

A variety of retailers are thought to be gearing up for the influx of m-commerce users who have NFC built into their mobiles as a result of Android 2.3's launch. This includes Starbucks, which has begun testing this technology in a selection of its coffee outlets and has embraced m-commerce in the past.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt demonstrated Android Gingerbread during the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco this week and, given that Google has been involved in e-commerce, m-commerce and safe shopping online for a significant period, it is clear that this is the firm to innovate over the coming years.