Diversity of Android Ecosystem Poses Obstacle to Mobile Payment Development

Samsung Announces Second Biometric SmartphoneMarket research firm Research and Markets has released a new, rather specific report on “The Obstacles Facing Android to Enable a Payments Infrastructure That Rivals Apple Pay”. According to VP of Payments Innovation Tim Sloane, “[t]he Android market is clearly responding to Apple Pay, and rumors are swirling around Google, Softcard, Samsung, and Loop Pay,” and the new report highlights the major challenges the Android market will face in trying to catch up.
The main problem is a result of the differing philosophical paradigms under which Apple and Android operate. Apple has sought to build a closed ecosystem of devices guaranteeing easy interoperability and shutting out external software and hardware; Android, meanwhile, attained its enormous market share by way of Google’s openness to third party tinkering. The latter’s approach has resulted in a great deal of technological diversity, and unfortunately it’s that lack of conformity that makes the introduction of a standard mobile payment system so different.
As the report’s subtitle notes, Apple has ‘set the bar for mobile payments’ with its Apple Pay system, and it will be a formidable foe if Android participants are going to compete. That having been said, some of the important hardware is already settling into place, as various smartphone makers seek to install biometric technology on their devices for authentication purposes; this is largely following the path paved by Apple’s TouchID system, but it’s important to have such security apparatuses in place if consumers are going to adopt a mobile payment system on a large scale.
With Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Alipay all poised to go head to head in the massive Chinese market over the coming year, Android participants are going to have a tough fight ahead of them, and may want to have a look at the new Research and Markets report.