Yesterday, the Commonwealth Bank minted the Android version of Kaching after months upon months of waiting for it, and the most notable thing in the app was the complete absence of NFC payments capabilities. The bank blames Google and device manufacturers for not giving it the keys to the secure element on Android devices, but chief marketing officer Andy Lark spoke to Gizmodo Australia briefly after the event, where he made his real feelings known.
Editors note: I should mention that in this context when we talk about NFC, we mean NFC for use in banking. Sorry for the confusion.
After a presentation where a room of journalists were told that CommBank is the victim of manufacturer inaction when it comes to Android NFC, Lark told Gizmodo Australia that NFC shouldn't even be advertised as a feature on today's smartphones if manufacturers aren't willing to give the keys to the secure element to third parties.
Here's what he had to say:
The industry needs to stop marketing a feature that largely doesn't exist. Someone needs to draw a line in the sand on this. Imagine marketing a full-featured phone that only made calls when you got it out of the box. It's crazy, and in the end, advertising NFC and not letting users have it means you'll end up hurting the adoption of the technology.
CommBank maintains isn't mad with its hardware partners over this. It's looking to maintain a good relationship with partners and Google, so that when they do eventually decide to let these keys out CommBank will be able to snap them out quick smart.
I dream of a world where I can walk out of my house with nothing but my smartphone and use it to unlock my car with an app, start it with NFC pairing, head to the shops and pay for bread and milk with a banking app, and go home. It's integrated technology, and in 2012, it shouldn't be this hard.