Isis Backed by Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Other Top Cell Phone Manufacturers

by Yuyutsu Sen on October 12, 2011

Recently a number of key handset makers publicly announced their support for the yet to be released mobile payment platform Isis. This is the first time Isis has been publicly backed by the cell phone makers. The list of companies planning to launch cell phones featuring Isis’s near field communications (NFC) wireless technology includes Samsung Mobile, Motorola Mobility, Sony Ericsson, HTC, LG and RIM. This covers most major smartphone manufacturers except Apple.

The carrier led NFC mobile payment platform already has the support of key credit card companies like American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover, its original partner. Now the platform, which is being developed by AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, also has the support of key mobile phone manufacturers. Isis has joined hands with DeviceFidelity, the maker of cell phone cases and microSD cards, to allow other smartphones to facilitate NFC connections.

In its competition against Google’s Wallet, this is a major achievement for Isis. It also explains why the search engine giant was unable get the support of other cell phone makers for Google Wallet. According to the executives at Isis, the support of key manufacturers is an asset that will enable faster adoption of the technology. Google Wallet was released last month on the Nexus S on Sprint. It will be interesting to see how this development affects Google Wallet.

Isis has announced that the platform would function on Android and other mobile operating systems as well. According to Isis chief technology officer Scott Mulloy, the technology standards provided by the platform offer the required direction and certainty for the development of NFC enabled cell phones and their deployment in the mobile ecosystem. He further added that the support of founding mobile carriers and mobile manufacturers will allow it to the scale and user choice for widespread adoption.

With a majority of Isis hardware partners being Android licensees, the platform will have to operate alongside Google’s Wallet. Motorola, one of Isis’s handset partners and an Android licensee, is in the process of being taken over by Google. The company’s vice president of software and services product management Christy Wyatt recently said that in order to offer NFC enabled smartphones, Motorola will work with the complete Android ecosystem along with Isis.

Things seem to be going well for NFC technology in general. The technology was earlier dismissed by competitors like Square and PayPal saying that it did not add any value. But now that it has the support of mobile manufacturers, it can become a highly effective tool for mobile marketing through targeted offers and loyalty programs in addition to mobile payments. Although it remains unclear what precisely the backing handset makers entails and when Isis enabled cell phones will be rolled out by these hardware partners, the platform is likely to give tough competition to Google Wallet. Isis is to be launched next year and the handsets featuring the mobile payments platform are also expected in the coming year.

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