If you can’t beat ‘em, imitate the heck out of ‘em. That seems to be the lesson with Android Pay, the mobile payment system that Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Engadget reported.
Android Pay is not a replacement for Google’s Wallet app. Instead, it is digital payment platform stitched into the Android operating system that lets developers build payment tech into their apps. Instead of attempting to dominate the marketplace by forcing everyone to integrate with Google Wallet, Google is launching Android Pay as a strategic move to keep Android with the times, especially to compete with Apple Pay and the just-announced Samsung Pay. While Pichai did not go into much detail about Android Pay, Engadget reported, he did say that it would offer security features similar to Apple Pay, including tokenized card numbers that are essentially digital single-use credit cards for every transaction.
Once Android Pay is up and running, it will open the door to partnerships with other companies that streamline payments for mobile users–companies like Stripe, which partnered with Apple Pay last year and is one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies of 2015. Instead of siloing their clients in an app, Stripe adds back-end code that lets clients accept payments from 139 countries, as well bitcoin payments.
Despite lackluster adoption of Google Wallet, this is an important step for Google to maintain dominance of the Android platform. We’re only going to be using our mobile devices more in the future, so securing the ease and security of digital payments is essential.