Remember Isis? It’s okay if you don’t, they’ve been pretty quiet for a while. They’re the ones trying to push NFC mobile payments into the mainstream in the US market. It feels like forever ago when I first heard of it, and I remember getting really excited at the idea of paying for stuff with my phone, especially with carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile collaborating with Isis to make this a reality. Time passed and nothing really happened. I even searched them up at one point to see if there was any progress, and nothing really came up. Luckily, we finally have word that Isis is readying national deployment of the payment system for later this year.
According to a press release, the company saw successful trial runs of the service in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas. With the feedback from those trials, Isis is improving the service and pushing it out to the masses later in the year. It was also pointed out that nearly 20 million NFC-enabled smartphones are currently in the market, and among the 3 carriers collaborating with Isis, 35 smartphone models currently support Isis. That number is soon to grow, with support for iOS, Windows Phone, and (yes) Blackberry coming around the time of launch.
Nice to know Windows Phone is getting some love, especially since Nokia has been a major NFC player since it’s inception, having been one of 3 major companies who founded the NFC Forum back in 2004. Yes, Nokia helped define the standards that NFC is built on, and also build the first NFC-enabled phone, the Nokia 6131. Despite this, Samsung has swooped in and taken the spotlight, announcing their commitment to the Isis Mobile Wallet. “At Samsung, we are committed to providing our customers with the most innovative technologies available,” said Kevin Packingham, chief product officer of Samsung Telecommunications America. “The Isis Mobile Wallet is just one example of that commitment brought to life.”
25 of the top 100 companies are currently deploying of have deployed contact-less terminals, with the number growing steadily. Among them are Jamba Juice and Coca-Cola, both of whom have noticed an increase in customer loyalty during the trial runs in Salt Lake City and Austin. This is promising news for companies who have yet to jump on the Isis train.
I dunno about you, but I can’t wait to start tapping away with my Lumia to pay for a frappuccino or Double Cheese Burger! I feel like the US is totally behind on mainstream NFC usage (as we are with everything else). What do you think? Mobile payments a good thing? Yay or nay?
Visit Engadget for the full press release.