This past week has been a combination of joy and despair for me.
To start off, the grandaddy of contactless mobile payments is coming back and in a big way. Google Commerce announced this past week that they have basically acquired competitor Softcard, the product of a late 2010 joint venture from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Originally known as Isis, the mobile wallet failed to catch on with consumers due to limited compatibility with devices, credit cards and debit cards. The carriers wanted it to succeed; Verizon even blocked Google Wallet from their phones. However, it seems that the carriers have finally figured out what we’ve known for a while: Google Wallet is awesome. Along with the ability to pay at mobile terminals with your phone, you can even get a physical Google Wallet debit card to pay at those places that don’t accept Google Wallet. With Google and 3 of the big four US carriers pushing Google Wallet, we should finally start to see more people using their Android phones to pay, not just iPhone users trying Apple Pay.
Today, Pebble announced its newest smartwatch Pebble Time on Kickstarter. As of this post, the Pebble Time has already smashed its funding goal of $500,000 and reached over $5.5 million. The Pebble Time keeps what was great with the Pebble Steel and original Pebble, like the weeklong battery life and iOS and Android compatibility, and adds a slimmer design, a color e-paper display and a timeline interface.
Finally, my beloved Nexus 7 LTE has blacked out. No, I didn’t spill a beer on it. The device is fully functional, except for the display. It just stopped working. This is good time to remind all you Verizon customers that their Open Enrollment period for device insurance ends soon, March 13th to be exact. This means that if you declined to get insurance on your phone or tablet at the time of purchase, now is your chance to get it insured.