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New Microsoft Smartphone Breaks Mobile Wallet Ground

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In recent months, there has been considerable discussion about the coming next-generation smartphones that would likely give consumers the ability to use their devices as mobile wallets, and now a new entry to the market does just that.

Microsoft recently revealed that its new Windows Phone 8 will be among the first in the U.S. to grant users the ability to use their device to complete credit card purchases and other similar transactions, according to a report from the Puget Sound Business Journal. This is part of the company’s effort to revamp its mobile Windows operating system so that it is more secure and usable for consumers and businesses.

For instance, there will be far greater controls for encrypting data on devices, which may allow users and business IT departments to control and manage their phones, the report said. There are a number of other changes intended to make the devices more user-friendly as well, including the ability to support microSD cards that will give them more memory.

But most interesting is that near-field communications technology, from which Microsoft had previously been notably withdrawn, the report said. With such a large developer jumping into the game, it could lead to even faster adoption of the technology than many experts may have originally believed, particularly if the security features are enough to assuage consumers’ fears that this type of payment wouldn’t necessarily be as safe as traditional card use.

It has often been noted that the two largest hurdles to mobile wallet adoption were security concerns consumers had – which experts say will likely only be allayed by demonstrable safety over time – and the lack of availability for the necessary technology. Microsoft’s new device may address both of those concerns, simultaneously increasing the number of available devices and squashing potential security concerns that might be lingering among some consumers.

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It’s generally believed that mobile wallet technology will be a boon to companies in a number of industries, and has a potential value of tens of billions annually by just the end of 2015, which is when experts predict the technology will have gained broad acceptance and perhaps even ubiquity in the mobile market.

Image: Nils Geylen, via Flickr

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