Sprint plans to release a faster 4G version of the Google Nexus S smartphone, to run on its new mobile-payment service being tested in New York and San Francisco.
The Overland Park, Kan.-based company, which plans to announce pricing and availability at a later date, said the new Nexus integrates NFC, or near field communication, technology, allowing it to function as a mobile wallet.
That means consumers will be able to pay for products and services by simply tapping the Nexus against special “Google terminals” being tested around New York and San Francisco. It essentially becomes an e-wallet, and an alternative to cash, credit and debit cards. In addition, Google is planning to add gift-card balances, store loyalty cards and coupon subscriptions.
As one of the first devices capable to using such terminals, the Nexus gives Google a head start over competitors like longtime rival Apple, traditional credit card companies such as Visa, PayPal, and even mobile carriers — all who are racing to roll out their own NFC services to capture a stake in the $1.13 trillion mobile-payment industry.
For Google, controlling this segment gives it peek into consumers’ spending habits, and would allow it to better target customers with advertising, its core business.
“The Nexus, combined with our 4G network, gives customers the option of a pure Google experience,” said Fared Adib, Sprint’s vice president. “As the first 4G smartphone with Android 2.3, it delivers 4G for quick and easy access to future Android updates and services built into Google Voice.”
The new Nexus features a 4.0-inch contoured touch screen display, a 1-gigahertz chip running on Google’s latest Android 2.3 operating system, dubbed “Gingerbread,” and a rear-facing 5.0-megapixel camera and front-facing VGA lens for video calls.