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Marshmallow announcement highlights Google's return to mobile payments battle

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30th Sep 2015
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Google have officially unveiled Android 6.0, better known as Android Marshmallow, or M, in a press event online.

While M has been in the pipeline for some time, the event included the unveiling of two new Nexus phones that were the first devices to be preloaded with the new Marshmallow operating system, making the razzmatazz seem somewhat more significant.

But as with the recent Apple launch, the Android M announcement was more focused on iterative improvement to pre-existing technology as opposed to any earth-shatteringly new revelations.

Despite this, Google did reveal two new updates to its mobile search function with the smart Now on Tap software and its mobile payment tool, which will begin global roll-out under the moniker, Android Pay.

Android Pay will be of particular interest to the retail world, as Google’s intentions around mobile payments have not been all that clear since 2011, when they launched Google Wallet but experienced little subsequent traction with the product.

However, times have changed, and crucially, Google’s main rivals to smartphone success, Apple and Samsung, have both revealed versions of their own mobile payment solutions, making a new Google product an imperative.

And Google’s re-entry into the mobile payment market may now mean further adoption of mobile payments over cash and card alternatives, an occurrence that has been widely prophesised for some time but has yet to fully go mainstream.     

Google’s aim is to be seen as the easy alternative to Apple and Samsung’s payment solutions, and is offering Nexus Imprint finger sensor support, which means there’s no need for users to even open an app to make in-store payments; they just simple touch to unlock their device and pay,

Android Pay also promises to automatically link up any app loyalty cards found on a device, so there’s no need for users to switch between apps in order to get rewards during payments.

"Google's history with mobile payment systems, as we see with Wallet launched in 2011, hasn't been easy but I think what we see now is genuine user confidence and excitement in the technology,” said Voicu Klein, Android developer at The App Business, in response to the launch.

“With Apple setting the precedent and Samsung's latest success in Korea, customer adoption of mobile transactions is only expected to grow.

“Android Pay is definitely a compelling alternative. It's worth remembering that Google has a head start on their competitors by integrating loyalty programmes directly into their payments systems, giving customers another reason to try it out.”

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