There was a LOT to talk about in this week's PhoneDog Live. I won't be able to recap all of it so be sure to check out the full video if you can. (The video description contains a timeline of when each topic was discussed.) Google announced its mobile payment system this week called Google Wallet, Microsoft unveiled its next major update to Windows Phone codenamed "Mango", we heard some new rumors about the iPad 3's display and there were some other juicy tidbits about Apple's iCloud music player, a new tablet from ASUS, and the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. In this recap article, we'll discuss the big news - Google, Microsoft, and Apple.
Google Wallet works in conjunction with MasterCard's already implemented PayPass system. Using an NFC phone, you can simply swipe your handset in front of a POS (Point of Sale) system and it will read your info and charge your account. Setup is simple and Google claims it's very secure.
My question is, Will this actually take off? I mean, so much for an aggressive roll-out. So far, this is only available on one phone (the Nexus S 4G), one carrier (Sprint), and one card (Citi MasterCard). The Nexus S 4G isn't even a massively popular phone and Sprint is currently the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S. This isn't to say that it won't catch on, but it seems like Google was a little too quick to launch and sacrificed getting widespread support from major companies that could provide crucial infrastructure for the system to really be successful. It reminds me of their recent launch of Music Beta. Google didn't want to wait to finalize deals with record label companies so they released a half-way finished product in hopes that people will still want to use it.
I'm not trying to bash Google. What I mean is, I don't think it's all Google's fault if this doesn't catch on. Digital wallets, NFC payments, and the like have been around for a while and they always seem to struggle. For example, I used to work at a business that offered MasterCard's PayPass system as a way to pay. Yes, it was easy, free, simple, and convenient. For some reason though, people just didn't get it. They didn't catch on to it and even though it required more steps, they would rather pull out their wallet, hand me their card, allow me to swipe it, and then put it all back in their pocket. I guess we're all just creatures of habit. I'm just a little skeptical about this. I could be wrong though.
In other big news, Microsoft announced its next major update coming to Windows Phone. For now, it's codenamed "Mango" and Microsoft says it doesn't have an official name for it, but most people are calling it Windows Phone 7.5. Here are some of the main additions: multi-tasking, Twitter integration in the People Hub, improvements to Internet Explorer, a unified e-mail inbox with threaded conversation view, and new features called Quick Cards, App Connect, Local Scout, and Bing Vision. Quick Cards allows Bing to pull up detailed information about your search query rather than just a list of links. For example, when you type in a movie title, along with links to sites about the movie, the search results will also include a list of showtimes for theaters in your area. When you select those showtimes, a Quick Card will open that shows ratings for the movie, a summary, a list of the cast, and more. While viewing a Quick Card, App Connect will search your phone's apps to see if you have an application that relates to your search. Going back to the movie example, the IMDB app may be one of the options. After choosing a particular theater, Local Scout will show you information about its surrounding area. All of this can be done without having to open up several different apps and do several different searches. Microsoft's goal is to bring everything together.
There are also a few other additions like Bing Vision which works someone like a bar code scanner except it can scan and identify pretty much anything including book covers, bar codes, or random items, Bing Music Search, think Shazaam, and threaded messaging which allows you to keep a conversation through Facebook messages, text messages, and other mediums together in one thread. Microsoft says that this update should be out this fall along with new Windows Phone devices, some of which will be 4G-capable.
From Google to Microsoft to, now, Apple. Here's a little tidbit about the iPad 3. The Korea Herald reported that Apple COO Tim Cook recently visited South Korea and met with Samsung to discuss using an AMOLED display on the next iPad, even saying that Apple offered Samsung an advance for the displays. The Korea Herald's source also said that this AMOLED-packing iPad 3 would be out later this year.
Now, there are a few reasons why this may not happen. One, Samsung hasn't even showed any of their own tablets with an AMOLED display meaning that they aren't coming out this year so it doesn't make sense that Samsung would let Apple get first crack at its own technology. Second, OLED-display.net did some digging and says that Samsung wants to focus on small- and medium-sized AMOLED displays this year and won't deliver a larger AMOLED display until 2012. Barry Young, the Director of the OLED Association also says there's no way that Apple could have an iPad with an AMOLED display this year.
If you'd like to watch the next episode of PhoneDog Live, we'll be broadcasting every Friday at 5 p.m. ET from our Ustream channel. You can watch it directly from Ustream or from our Facebook page. This week's show is available to watch on our YouTube channel.