Google Softcard deal will pre-install Wallet on phones from major carriers
Last week we heard that Google was getting ready to breathe some fresh life into Wallet, not content to sit idly by and let Apple Pay dominate the mobile payments game. It wasn’t clear exactly what was going to happen, but it sounded big, and it sure seemed to fit well enough with earlier rumors that Google could be considering acquiring mobile payment competitor Softcard (the one with all the carrier involvement). As it turns out, we won’t be waiting until I/O to learn just what Google’s up to with Wallet, and today the company starts sharing news of Wallet’s next chapter, which will find it pre-installed on Android phones sold by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.
Google’s not out and saying that it’s acquiring Softcard, but what’s clear from its statement is that Google and Softcard are no longer in direct competition. Instead, they’ve come to an arrangement that will see Google “acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better,” while also getting lots of smartphones equipped with Google Wallet into the hands of the American smartphone-buying public.
With this new deal in place, every Android smartphone running KitKat or better and equipped with the necessary NFC technology sold by these carriers will have Wallet pre-loaded. Google says to look for this to take place by sometime later in the year.