Late last week, we heard a rumor that Sprint was cooking up an NFC-based mobile payment system of its own, possibly foreshadowing trouble for the carrier’s cozy relationship with Google Wallet. Called Touch, we didn’t get to hear about many specifics of the system at the time. This week, we get our first chance to see just how Sprint’s implementation may look, upon the release of some leaked slides showing off the Touch app.
From the PIN unlock screen, to the library of loyalty cards, Touch looks like it’s functionally quite similar to Google Wallet. In fact, unless you’re partial to animated graphics of safes, it’s hard to see what benefit Touch might offer over Google’s solution. When we heard last week about Sprint’s system, we wondered if this was little more than move to give Sprint a slice of the mobile payment pie (as well as any associated merchant fees). There might be more to Touch than we’re seeing in these slides, and maybe even some innovative new features, but that’s just not coming across in what we can see here.
This is all so unusual when you look at how relatively recently Sprint really got on-board with NFC and Google Wallet; in March we heard about plans for Sprint filling its stable with at least ten Wallet-capable Androids. That future sounds very much in doubt upon learning of the carrier’s work on Touch.