Monday, December 12, 2011

The reason why the Galaxy Nexus has been delayed

The real reason? Billions of dollars of potential revenue for the foreseeable future with NFC money transactions. What Google wants to do is thin-out your wallet by getting rid of all your plastic, but in a good way. I certainly would prefer not to carry around the debit cards, credit cards, club membership cards, and clothing line cards if I didn't have to. There might have been some appeal in the past, maybe 10 years ago, to carry around as much plastic as possible. But that time is long gone as it has become a nuisance to carry the right card to the destination you are heading to. Instead, Google is predicting that swiping cards will be a distant memory in just a few short years with NFC chips that is built into newer phones. Instead of using a plastic card, you will just have a digital copy of your card on your phone, and all you will have to do is touch the smartphone to the credit card receiver. The amount of cards you can carry will be limitless, and you don't have to carry anything extra in your pocket. A real win for the consumer.

Under our noses, Google has positioned themselves to be the first successful and soon the only NFC payment service people will want to use. Even though NFC payment services have been in existence for a while, these companies are still struggling to gain any market share or convince consumers to start using NFC instead of plastic. Google, on the other hand, has smoothly made our Google Checkout accounts able to accept NFC payments (renamed it as Google Wallet), and is about to enable the NFC capabilities into android devices that we already own and carry with us all the time. And this is happening at the right at a time when the adoption of NFC payment devices at retail locations is exploding or about to explode. Well played Google. They are poised to take a percentage from every one of our credit card transactions in the future. They are one move away from saying "checkmate." And us, as consumers, are about to love Google for enabling this service.

But who is holding up the show? Verizon. And understandably so. Verizon would rather not have Google Wallet pre-installed on the Galaxy Nexus, and instead would rather have their own NFC payment app installed, and want any other NFC payment app blocked from making it on the device. So this is the real reason the Galaxy Nexus, already stocked at retail locations, is not being sold at the moment. This landmark decision is so big that Verizon is willing to lose many customers daily to AT&T as AT&T is turning on their LTE networks like gangbusters at major metropolitan areas on a daily basis.

The way I see it, Verizon is fighting a losing battle.
A) People don't like using included apps provided by the carrier, aka "bloatware". They are usually not refined, and better 3rd party solutions exist. It has become a reflex to uninstall bloatware as soon as a new phone is turned on.
B) Even if by a slim chance Verizon gets everything they ask for, gets Google to agree to remove Google Wallet, and block any other NFC apps from accessing the NFC chip, it can easily be circumvented by rooting. To add to that, what is going to stop Google from wanting users from rooting their device so that they can get Google Wallet onto their devices? Google will be on the side of the consumers, not Verizon.
C) A low level root protection could be enabled on the Galaxy Nexus and if it actually worked and held, there would be a backlash of biblical proportions by tech review blogs that it would be the worst decision Verizon can make that all the money they spent to get exclusive licensing of the Galaxy Nexus and the first one to have ICS, will be negated, maybe lost due to the impact on sales.

In conclusion, as much as Google has become "big brother", I trust Google a billion times more with the integrity of my payment transactions. Speak to anyone who has dealt with Verizon's hidden charges, erroneous charges, cancellation charges (even after you've fulfilled your contract). The way they handle themselves in your face is criminal. Basically, you are likely to get some erroneous charges when you first sign up for their service. You call, and the person that answers your phone call is already pissed off at you before you even start speaking. Then after a long heated argument on why you shouldn't be charged for something you didn't order and would never use, they make it sound like they are forgiving you by removing those charges. Then when you get your bill, you realize it is still high because they are charging you $15-$25 of hidden fees and taxes. You call them about it, and they say they have no reason to control that because it is a tax by the government. Federal, state, and local. No other carriers do this as they pay these fees which is included in your service fees. Then say after 2 years, you're done with their contract, you decide to cancel. They send you a mystery bill. When you call them on why you are getting charged for service you no longer are using, they once again are pissed off before you even start speaking. Then they ask to go talk to the manager. And they come back and say that they are giving you a break and that the manager has agreed to reduce your bill to half the amount as a favor. This is a bill you shouldn't even be paying. Then the only option of paying your bill is over the phone. And guess what, Verizon charges $5 for phone payments. This is how they run their business. It works for them because a lot of businesses like using Verizon as their carrier and businesses are unwilling to go through this kind of hassle. They instead just pay. Do you want a company Verizon acting as the bridge for everyone of your transactions in the future? Absolutely not. I trust Google more.

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