It looks like Google Wallet will be amongst the topics discussed next week during Google I/O. Basically, Google is expected to announce some new features for Wallet. At present it looks like these will include everything from additional rewards and offers to loyalty points. Perhaps more important, it was also said that Google will be adding additional merchants which should make it a bit more convenient for those looking to actually use Wallet.
Aside from what may be coming, it is also looking like one feature has recently been given the boot. The feature that will not be included in the discussion at I/O is the physical Google Wallet cards. Details of these cards originally leaked back in November of last year. At that time we saw an image of the card along with some basic details on the Google Wallet help pages.
The dropping of the cards is reportedly due to Google CEO Larry Page. It was said that Page felt these cards were not on the same level as what other payment startups have been doing. Sources have said Page felt they “did not press forward innovation as payments startups like Square have done.” Another factor that was said to have added to the decision was a demo filled with glitches. Page apparently had also been skeptical of these cards for some time now.
On that note, adding additional merchants to Wallet could help to increase the user base however there seems to have been the potential for increased awareness with the physical Wallet cards. They could have potentially brought Wallet into the minds of additional users, not to mention, got users in the habit of using Wallet even if they do not have an NFC (or Wallet capable) device.
Other details touched on the crossover between Google Wallet and Google Now. At present, it looks like that will not be happening. While there isn’t any reason to believe something will not happen in the future, at present the Wallet and Now teams are described as being “siloed.” In addition to dropping the physical card, it seems some members of the Wallet team have been dropped as well. Details show the head of Google Wallet, Osama Bedier, has left. It was said that Bedier was “pushed out” and Sridhar Ramaswarmy is now in charge of Wallet.
Google’s mobile payment processor, the appropriately named Wallet, is reportedly set for an I/O update. That update was, according to a few sources, was going to include a physical card. The card, all black with a rainbow Google Wallet “W” on the front, was said to be scrapped due to Larry Page’s displeasure with a buggy trial run.
The scrapped card idea comes after Osama Bedier, Vice President of Wallet, decided to leave Google for the ubiquitous “other opportunities”. His decision is said to come after Page’s displeasure with the physical card, and overall dissatisfaction for the Wallet program not making strides against the competition.
That competition is fierce. Everyone who has the ability to do so is getting involved with mobile payment processing. Being in control not only yields a slice of every purchase pie you make, but also reports back on your spending habits and favorite shopping destinations. That information is useful to them for targeted advertising, generating another avenue for revenue.
In many instances, Wallet has either been dismissed or outright blocked. The program also relies on NFC interacting with specially programmed equipment at the point of sale. That equipment, even when present, usually isn’t setup properly to accept Google Wallet.
The mobile payment space is heavily fragmented, making getting a foothold outside of the proprietary function a payment system was designed for a very tough proposition. Google Wallet works fine for most Play Store transactions, but outside of that realm it’s a disaster. A physical card would have helped, but also defeated the true aim of Wallet.
Evleaks offers first glimpse of buttonless LG phone with unique earpiece
Prolific leaker Evleaks has posted images of what could be a future LG handset. The device, pictured on Facebook, shows a spartan front face with only an LG logo down below. There's also a curved glass front and an unusual looking reflective earpiece. In today's post, the leaker offers a guess that this might be the rumored Optimus G2.
The mystery phone seems to share some design cues with the Nexus 4, but there's no suggestion at all that this is a Nexus device — for one, LG's branding is very much front and center. But it could indicate a change of tack for LG, if it's to join the likes of Motorola and Sony with a push towards on-screen buttons. (It's a move that would please Android purists.)
For the moment that's about all we can surmise from an image showing a featureless phone with a blank screen. If you've got any theories of your own, be sure to shout out in the comments. The original image is linked below, as is a close-up of the bezel.
“Google has no plans and we have nothing to announce,” said Android chief Andy Rubin when asked about Google’s mobile devices benefiting from an offline sales presence during an hour long roundtable discussion with reporters at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday.
“For Nexus, I don’t think the program is far enough along to think about the necessity of having these things in a retail store.”
Rubin is right too. Just about everyone is connected to the web and a simple Google search for “nexus 4 review” brings up nearly 81 million results. While retail stores have their place, they certainly aren’t needed with how connected the world has become.
Hands-on experiences aren’t needed as much as they used to be. We can read about other people’s experiences with a device through social networking, video and so on. Besides, if Google were to launch a retail store, it won’t have much to show, as it’s still in its infancy when it comes to creating its own hardware.
Hodu borrows its name from the Korean word for “walnut,” a reference to the culture’s use of the nut as an exercise tool in traditional medicine. The barbell-shaped device is a “zero failure” physical therapy tool, aimed at rewarding patients for even the slightest level of feedback. There are on-board pressure sensors and accelerometers for detecting activity and a series of colored LEDs that light up based on feedback levels. The team behind Hodu is also working on proprietary software to help log patients’ squeezing and rotational progress.
After the break is a video that should give you a bit of a better idea of precisely what Hodu is capable of.
Check out the full list of Insert Coin: New Challengers semifinalists here — and don’t forget to pick a winner!
The mobile app marketing strategy is still going on in full swing as is evident from the shelves of the popular store, Target. You can now have your kids play popular mobile games in a more traditional way than having them lost in the world of smartphones and/or tablets. Playing any game the physical way rather than through apps has its own old world charm and it does give a much needed break to eyes that are strained beyond limits with viewing device screens during the most part of the day.
One great example of a popular game going the traditional way is Rovio’s Angry Birds. Two such games available in Target stores are Angry Birds Knock on Woods and Angry Birds Space, which truly transport you back in time to your childhood days when it was normal to carry around a slingshot.
One of the most popular games in the Angry Bird series, Angry Birds Star Wars, has stormed itself to numero uno position in app stores and it now has a physical version as well which you can think of gifting kids. The same goes for the Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star Game, which is available in physical form with a cute set of toys that the kids will love to play with.
Another great mobile game, Cut the Rope, is also available from Target.
How about an idol that talks? This is what you get with Temple Run Card Game, which has appeared in the physical version as well. It is not that the kids get the much-needed exercise playing the physical version of this game, however, the least it does is to wean them away from the electronic devices they are so accustomed and even addicted to. Disney’s game Where’s My Water is another favorite that is already making its way into the physical version market.
Will most popular apps soon be available in new formats? How well app addicts accept this is something that one needs to wait and see. One thing is for sure though, all these gaming companies are now trying to capitalize the success of their popular apps by making them available through physical form.
In case he missed them this year, Santa can add these gifts in his bag for the next Christmas season and with these physical games he can give kids a much needed break to interact with their siblings and cousins. Don’t you think so?
When Bill Gates first demoed his BASIC interpreter for the Altair, it seems a safe bet that he could’ve never guessed that his company would eventually be collaborating with the US military to introduce new forms of physical therapy. Thanks to Kinect, however, Microsoft and the Air Force are now hammering out the details of a system that could assist injured soldiers through the recovery process. Curiously, all of this may be accomplished with a PC, Kinect and off-the-shelf software such as ReMotion 360 — all of which could help keep costs low — although a proprietary system remains a possibility. In addition to reducing treatment costs, it’s thought that a home-based approach could be a convenient alternative for those who don’t live near care facilities.
Even beyond physical therapy, Microsoft is also exploring Kinect’s usefulness for the treatment of PTSD, which could allow the afflicted to anonymously take part in group sessions through the use of avatars. To learn more of how Microsoft is flexing Kinect’s muscles with the military, feel free to hit up the source link.
Now that Apple‘s stores full of glass walls and gadgets are so popular it seems that everyone is trying to do the same. When I first heard HTC was opening stores I thought, no. Just no! Low and behold just like Samsung and and even Microsoft, HTC has just opened their own store although it’s inside of another store in Hamburg, Germany.
The store model employed by Cupertino is a popular one, something Samsung has received some negative press over for trying to mirror, with the same blue shirts and everything. This go around HTC has done something similar with a neat little HTC store complete with smartphones available to try, and even some neat little comfy green decorations to relax and enjoy an HTC One X.
The folks at MyDrivers.com snapped the few photos here, giving us a glance at the new HTC store in Germany that the Taiwanese company hopes will help out sales — at least in Germany. The store within a store idea is probably a good first step. Not requiring an entire building, but enough to still get attention from shoppers and passerby’s.
Apparently HTC plans to bring more of these mini “stores” to other parts of the world soon, so we could even see one land somewhere in NYC or San Fransisco soon, but there’s no telling at this point. We’re hearing HTC has trained staff on-site to answer questions, give demos, sale smartphones and tablets, and even offer Beats Audio headphones and more right in-store. Is it just me, or does that store or room and table look a bit messy? Keep it clean HTC!