Does KitKat break off a piece of NFC?

The latest version of Android opens the door to NFC technology.

Often times, when the retail sector looks at mobile payment trends that consumers are using and merchants need to take notice of, they look at what Apple is doing. This is the company that kicked the mobile device revolution into overdrive with the iPhone and the iPad. With every press event that includes the popular smartphone, payment experts eagerly await the inclusion of near field communication (NFC) technology and they have so far been disappointed.

So how about we change topics and instead look at the latest operating system from Android and what it could mean for payment options and NFC technology. A recent column from Cherian Abraham for Mobile Payments Today looked into this for the latest platform known as Android 4.4 KitKat.

According to Abraham, the new system has enabled support for host card emulation. This allows third-party developers to build on an open NFC stack. Essentially, Google is opening the doors and letting others have access to its tap-and-pay platform.

"Only a fraction of the more than 200 million Android devices that shipped with NFC support are tap-and-pay worthy. It had become absurd that one must inquire upon carrier, platform, issuer and device support before installing an NFC payment app, much less use it. Talk about fragmentation," Abraham wrote.

While Apple may be standing pat on NFC technology, Google and Android just threw the doors wide open. Merchants should partner with a payment solution provider to ensure they are able to stay ahead of the trends.

by Ty Hardison

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