Rumor: Google, Sprint to reveal mobile payment plan May 26; UPDATE: YouTube announcement down

Google NFCWe heard in March that Google was testing its mobile payments service and now Bloomberg claims that insider sources told them that the Mountain View company could introduce its digital wallet service as early as May 26. Those familiar with Google’s plans, who insisted on anonymity, said it will be launching the service on Sprint phones with NFC chips that will allow for users to make mobile payments entirely via phone. To date, that only includes the Sprint Nexus S, but who knows – maybe Google will be unveiling upgraded Android-Sprint handsets with the capability or at least hint at a roadmap of phones that will be getting the technology.

Google and Sprint have naturally declined to comment, although it is telling that Google has sent out invitations for a press event this week and will stream an announcement on its YouTube channel. And According to AllThingsD, Google will give a hands-on demo of its NFC-enabled Android phones at the D: All Things Digital conference next week.

This can’t come as a total surprise: There have been plenty of rumors about the company’s plans for NFC. But if the reports pan out, Google and Sprint will be the first major mobile players to bring NFC to consumers on a wider scale. There is definitely an NFC race going on and all signs point to a Google finishing first. That said, there will still be some surprises (or at least official revelations) on the 26th.

Who’s going to be involved?

Obviously Google can’t just put NFC chips in its phones and be done with it – because it already did that. The Nexus S was introduced earlier this year with its NFC tag reading ability, which was groundbreaking. Groundbreaking, but just a little too ahead of its time to be useful. Bloomberg’s insiders say VeriFone and ViVoTech (both manufacture credit card readers) will produce hardware and software that will be compatible for the mobile payment system. It’s also very possible MasterCard will have collaborated on the project, as it was rumored to have been. And of course, Sprint’s coming along for the ride.

Where will it work?

The Wall Street Journal’s insiders say retailers including Macy’s, American Eagle, and Subway will have new checkout terminals that will work with the NFC-enabled Android phones. New York and San Francisco are slated to be test cities, as we reported earlier, and reports now also include Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

Who’s next?

Industry insiders were convinced the next-gen iPhone would include the NFC chip, but reports from the U.K. suggested otherwise. Still, since then we’ve learned that Apple could be introducing the iPhone 4S, a slight upgrade from the iPhone 4, this fall before the iPhone 5. It’s possible the technology will be included in the iPhone 5.

There have also been reports about Isis, a collaboration between AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. The joint venture between the three major carriers wants to implement NFC technology into handsets and introduce the mobile wallet to a variety of communities by mid-2012.

[UPDATE]

We were excited to watch the events of Google’s announcement on its YouTube channel today, which was sporting a countdown until the press conference. Unfortunately, Google’s being tight-lipped and not giving the public access to the event. The URL originally streaming the likely mobile payment announcement now simply says: “This video is private. Sorry about that.” Hopefully Google restores the video cast, but we’re thinking not given the amount of information that’s already made the rounds about today’s event.

Mobile

It’s nearly impossible to lose this solar-powered location-tracking wallet

Smart wallets have soared in popularity in recent years, offering tracking and RFID blocking, so I tried out the Ekster Parliament smart wallet with solar-powered tracker card to see whether they're worth opening your old wallet for.
Mobile

Embattled Huawei preps its own backup operating system that runs Android apps

According to a new report, Huawei is developing its own mobile operating system, just in case it loses its access to Android -- something that could happen to ZTE in the near future.
Mobile

Tor Browser for Android helps you bid goodbye to pesky trackers and advertisers

Staying anonymous online can be tough, and trackers are constantly following you, trying to grab information on what you're looking at. If you want to give them the boot, download the Tor Browser for Android.
Mobile

How does fast charging work? Here’s every single standard compared

Modern smartphones can charge in mere minutes instead of hours. How does fast charging work? Here's a guide to the most popular standards, including Qualcomm Quick Charge, USB Power Delivery, OnePlus Dash Charge, and more.
Photography

Adobe Premiere Rush now allows Android users to edit video without the laptop

After launching on desktop and iOS, Adobe Premiere Rush, a streamlined video editor, is now available on Android. Premiere Rush is designed for social media projects and non-professional editors.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Huawei updates, Starlink launch, and Pac-Man’s birthday

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the ongoing Huawei saga, Amazon’s social games for workers, Ford's partnership with a robotics company, the Starlink satellite launch, Pac-Man’s birthday, and more.
Mobile

Hey Google, let’s order out: Food delivery comes to Search, Maps, and Assistant

If you love your takeout, then Google's new online food ordering system is sure to bring a smile to your lips. You can now order takeout from Google Search results, Google Maps, or by using Google Assistant and pick your delivery service.
Mobile

The world can be your oyster with a little help from the best travel apps around

Traveling doesn't need to be a time-consuming nuisance. Our handpicked selection of the best travel apps will keep things simple, whether you need cost comparisons for hotels or directions to renowned eateries.
Mobile

Google Duplex sounds a lot like a human — and sometimes it is one

Google Duplex was originally launched as a way to make bookings at restaurants and other locations. The service was hailed for sounding like a human, but according to a new report, the reason for that might be that sometimes it is a human.
Mobile

Your OnePlus 7 Pro is awesome out of the box, but there's more to discover

You've got your awesome new OnePlus 7 Pro in your hand, and you want to make sure it's set up correctly. Here's our complete guide to the settings you should change, and features you must know about, on the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Mobile

T-Mobile One is being rebranded to Magenta, new users get to keep discounts

T-Mobile offers a number of plans for you and your family, but how do you know which one is best for you and your situation? Here, we break down the specifics of each plan to help you decide.
Mobile

Huawei's situation in the U.S. may improve when trade war is resolved

The U.S. Commerce Department has added Huawei to its "Entity List." Google, Intel, and ARM are all confirmed or rumored to be ceasing business with the company, which may have disastrous effects on Huawei.
Mobile

You can't fool us -- this is definitely the Moschino Honor 20 Pro phone

Honor has launched the Honor 20 Pro and the Honor 20 at an event that took place in London. The new smartphone is surprisingly compact, with an impressive four-lens camera for taking stunning shots, day or night.
Mobile

Get your gaming on the go with the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else entirely.