Mobile Phones Can Soon Replace Wallets

November 25, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. log (v.) [lawg, log] – to record a single or series of events or transactions
    Example: The computer will log all the transactions automatically.

2. tap (v.) [tap] – to lightly hit (your fingers, feet, etc.) against something
    Example: Tap his shoulder to call his attention.

3. digitize (v.) [dij-i-tahyz] – to change data into digital form for processing on a computer
    Example: Our professor wanted our group to digitize our written report.

4. trend (n.) [trend] – something that is currently popular or fashionable
    Example: Fashion trends change every season.

5. inconvenient (adj.) [in-kuhn-veen-yuhnt] – causing trouble or problems
    Example: It is quite inconvenient to live far from your workplace.

Read the text below.

Google has recently launched its Electronic Wallet Application, which allows buyers to pay using their mobile phones instead of cash or credit cards.

Logging payments is done simply by tapping the phone on an NFC reader and entering a PIN for security. NFC reader is a device that allows wireless transaction between two devices.

Product manager of Google Wallet Marc Freed-Finnega said the app aims to digitize everything that can be found in people’s pockets—cash, credit cards, driver’s licenses, and house keys, among others—by putting them together into one mobile device.

Electronic wallet became a trend in South Korea and Japan five years ago.  It became a reality in the US when Google introduced Wallet App for Nexus S smartphones on September 6. Although few people currently use the application, Google considers this the start of a new technology.

Will Stofega, an expert on mobile technology from the analyst firm IDC, said electronic wallet technology will be a significant part of the mobile phones.

But despite its functionality, some reviewers find the system inconvenient compared to easier and quicker forms of payment. Jeff Blyskal, senior editor at Consumer Reports, has tried the application and said that electronic wallets are not going to replace real wallets. In addition, major changes in hardware must be done before electronic wallets can be used extensively.

In the future, Google plans to include loyalty cards and digital coupons into the phone app so buyers can avail of discounts from store loyalty programs using their phones. The company also plans to further develop the application, such that mobile phones with the app can function as identification cards, train or bus passes, and even house keys.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
Discussion A

·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of paying through cash?
·         Do you think that payment by mobile phone would be more convenient? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of using multi-functional gadgets?
 If you were to create a new phone application, what would it be and why?

November 25, 2011