Here’s a couple of the more interesting items on the show floor at 4G World in Chicago this year:
Google Wallet Gives You Another Way to Pay
On the show floor, Sprint was showing off the Google Wallet app on its Samsung Nexus S 4G smartphone, which is currently the only device to support the program. Acting as a mobile payment system through the use of near-field communications (NFC), Google Wallet lets you make payments simply by tapping your phone on any PayPass enabled terminals.
At the time of launch — which was just last week — Google Wallet can only acquire funds from a “Google Prepaid Card or by storing the information of a Citi MasterCard. A Sprint rep that was on hand, however, did say that further support for Visa, Discover, and American Express cards is in the works.
Besides the phone running Google Wallet, Sprint also had a PayPass terminal available so I could try out the app for myself. And good news: it all very easy to use, even if the app is a bit particular about just where you tap the phone on the terminal. After I entered the PIN and tapped my phone on the terminal, the large display Sprint had hooked up to it showed what the merchant would see, which was basically no different than if I had swiped my credit card. Meanwhile, on the phone, I could see all of the information about the purchase including the cost, name of the vendor, and even the location where the purchase was made.
And besides just being able to use Google Wallet in place of one’s credit card, you will also be able to store gift cards, as well as other useful information like receipts and a full record of all of your previous purchases made using the app.
When asked about any security measures that Google Wallet takes to protect your credit card information in the event that you lose your phone, the rep pointed out that, beyond the password protection of the phone itself, the app also requires you to enter a PIN every time you want to enable the NFC chip and make a transaction. “Still, he said, “you should treat it just like you would if you lost your actual credit card. You should call your bank immediately and cancel it.
Huawei continues its expansion into American markets with its first branded device with T-Mobile, the Sonic 4G Mobile Hotspot, which was spotted in the flesh on the show floor at 4G World.
Launched last Wednesday and running on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, the Sonic uses 3G/4G connections with speeds up to 42 Mbps to offer Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n connections for up to 5 devices at one time.
The Sonic also sports “intelligent power control” to give its 2200mAh battery longer life, which is supposed to be around 5 hours of work time. Other features include a microSD card slot (so you can share media to other users connected to the hotspot), web-based interface for establishing quick connections and a status display on the device itself to show battery life, signal strength, and connected users. It’s available now for $100 with a new 2-year contract.