Feeds

Forget bonking, now mobes can buy stuff using pay-by-SQUEAK

Chinese spurn NFC, go for acoustic-coupled modem look

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has launched a mobile wallet app with a more-than-passing resemblance to Apple's Passbook. It enables fandroids to pay each other over the air and squeaks every time it's used.

The new wallet comes from Alipay, the financial arm of Alibaba, which already processes 8.5 million transactions a day for its half-a-billion users. As well as storing credit card details - which can be used in shops via QR Codes, barcodes or the aforementioned squeaking - the Alipay Wallet can handle person-to-person transactions enabling every user to become a merchant.

Few electronic wallets support these peer-to-peer transactions as they are more complicated and harder to secure than the usual customer-to-merchant payments. But P2P is essential if electronic systems are going to replace cash in a significant way so the inclusion in Alipay's app is significant.

The user interface is inspired by Apple's Passbook, and it can store vouchers for money off products and other offers just like its Cupertino rival.

Apple and almost everybody else is waiting for radio-wave-based Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to emerge, enabling pay-by-bonk payments: a suitably equipped phone is waved over or tapped against a till or any other NFC terminal to send its the payee's details so transactions can be completely wirelessly.

However, Alipay is pushing ahead with pay-by-squeak.

Pay-by-squeak requires two devices with the Alipay Wallet installed, which means Android for the moment though an iPhone version is promised. Using the microphone and speaker, the two devices beep to each other until the transfer has been authenticated.

Alternatives include an on-screen barcode or QR Code, read by the cameras on phones running software provided by Alipay, which is the crux of the matter and explains the desire for an early presence in the market.

Stores, even in China, are conservative, and won't invest in payment-accepting hardware unless they're confident it has a long-term future. PayPal's barcode-based system launched last May, but despite boasting four fashionable frock shops at launch it hasn't signed up anyone else since then, demonstrating just how hard it is to get retailers on board. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.