Isis, the telco mobile-payments joint venture conducting a Near Field Communication trial in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, reportedly plans to change its mobile wallet design/user interface, and it has hired a new wallet-application developer to oversee the software running on its NFC phones.
NFC Times reports that Mutual Mobile, an Austin, Texas-based startup, will replace C-Sam in providing the device software. C-Sam, based in Chicago, developed the first Isis wallet and will continue to run the Isis wallet server. The new wallet, Isis Mobile Wallet 2.0, “aims for a smoother performance, quicker response time, and sleeker and cleaner design,” NFC Times says, citing unnamed sources.
The telcos that own Isis—Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA—plan soon to announce an NFC-enabled attachment for Apple iPhones that uses a microSD chip, and the new wallet app will be developed primarily for Android and iOS devices, NFC Times says.
C-Sam, which recently received an infusion of investment funds from MasterCard, likely will experience some short-term financial repercussions from the Isis decision, if the NFC Times report is accurate (neither Isis nor C-Sam would comment in the article on the purported changes). Not helping C-Sam have been problems with its software’s performance, including the occasional interface freeze-up when users enter PIN codes and failed connections to the secure element (NFC SIM) in the phones.
But it’s not uncommon for vendors to make changes to meet specific goals. Mutual Mobile has experience designing iOS apps, and Isis may just want to improve the user experience. As the industry well knows from Apple’s iPhone success driven by Steve Jobs’ penchant for design, consumers pay especially strong attention to devices with a simple, easy-to-use user interface, and Isis apparently isn’t satisfied with its first approach.
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