By now we know that Verizon's version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will come preloaded with a pair of the carrier's own apps: My Verizon Mobile and VZ Backup Assistant. Well today we can add an app to the list that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus won't have access to, thanks to a decision by Big Red. According to a report out of Computerworld, a Google spokesperson has confirmed that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus won't include Google Wallet, the NFC app that allows users to make contactless payments at special stations using a near field communications (NFC) chip included with a device. The spokesperson explained that the choice was Verizon's. A source speaking to 9to5 Google corroborates this news, saying that Verizon has opted to block Galaxy Nexus users from downloading the Google Wallet app from the Android Market.
Although there's no official word on why Verizon has chosen to block its Galaxy Nexus users from accessing Google Wallet, many suspect that it has to do with Big Red's participation in ISIS. ISIS is a competing NFC mobile payment system backed by several different companies, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, that was founded late last year and is expected to launch early next year. Sprint is the only carrier of the big four that's not a part of ISIS, but it's also the only carrier with a device (Nexus S 4G) that can officially use Google Wallet. Of course, even though owners of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus won't officially get a chance to use Google Wallet like Nexus S 4G users, it's likely only a matter of time before the Android hacking community figures out a way around Verizon's restriction. What do you all make of this news? Is the lack of Google Wallet on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus a big deal to those of you planning on picking up the handset?
UPDATE: Looks like this is pretty much confirmed, as another Google spokesperson has told CNET that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus will not include Google Wallet. "Verizon asked us not to include this functionality in the product," the spokesperson said. Bummer.
UPDATE 2: Verizon has issued a statement concerning Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus. The carrier says that claims that it's blocking Google Wallet are false and it is "continuing [its] commercial discussions with Google on this issue." Verizon explains the situation by saying that Google Wallet is different from other mobile commerce systems and that in order for Google Wallet to work as the folks in Mountain View intended, Google Wallet "needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element" in Verizon's devices. The full statement is below.
Statement From Verizon On Google Wallet
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Statement from Jeffrey Nelson, spokesperson for Verizon:
Recent reports that Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on our devices are false. Verizon does not block applications.
Google Wallet is different from other widely-available m-commerce services. Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications. Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones.
We are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue.