Google's Android is getting an update to Android 4.4 KitKat and, in doing so, is opening up Google Wallet to mass markets by bypassing the Secure Element that's controlled by telcos.
While it's certainly in Google's, and most customers', interests to get this software into the hands of millions easily, they've not had an easy time doing so.
Most of this comes from difficulties trying to convince telcos – who mostly have their own NFC or mobile payment service they wish to promote – from enabling this emerging payments platform from the search engine giant.
Integrated into the new Android operating system is platform support for secure NFC-based transactions through Host Card Emulation for payments, loyalty cards, card access, transport ticketing and other services.
This means that any app on an Android device running KitKat can emulate an NFC smart card, letting users tap to initiate transactions with whichever app they like.
Unlike before, this means that the Secure Element – which is previously bound to a phone's NFC chip – is no longer needed.
Apps can also be used as NFC readers for transactions too, opening up the world of Google Wallet to a thoroughly more receptive audience.
Of course, is this really a smart move in a world where users are growing increasingly weary of the security of NFC payment methods?