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Google preps mobile payments launch

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Reporters in New York are dusting off their outdoor clothes for a Google “partner event” which rumours day will be the venue for the launch of a mobile payments platform.

Mobile payment is a Holy Grail of the tech sector: phone makers get a feature that will differentiate their devices for a week or so; the card giants get a new fee stream; crackers get another attack vector (which means security vendors get another platform to protect); consumers get to skip the crippling inconvenience of reaching for their wallets to pay for stuff; and carriers get yet-another lock-in to stop customers looking for better prices or functioning networks.

Reuters reports that the Chocolate Factory will tie up with Sprint Nextel for the Android-based payments system. This follows earlier reports that it was working with MasterCard and Citigroup to develop the system for the Nexus S phone.

The Wall Street Journal says the system will be trialled in San Francisco and New York, with Macy’s, clothes outlet American Eagle and Subway signed on as retailers.

Google is expected to sell advertising to retailers that participate in the mobile payments system, and third-party Android app developers will be able to write software that integrates into the payment system. ®

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