Monday, February 16, 2015

Phone Cases That Serve As Wallets Underscore How Badly We Need Mobile Payment and ID

Even before the smartphones were integrated into our daily lives, before Blackberries, the original iPhone, and the HTC G1, there was the Palm Pilot.  And I could not be more excited by it when Dave the Mobile Warrior showed me his Palm from US Robotics.  It was an eye opener.  Prior to that, I was using Casio made personal digital assistants (PDA) with black-and-white screens.

But the Pilot was a competely innovative device that was the future.  If you consider just how forward thinking the Palm was, even with its ancient input with the plastic stylus, you knew this was the future.  And let's be honest, be it the iPhone or a Galaxy Note, they owed their DNA to the Palm. 

And when I upgraded to the Palm Zire with an integrated camera, that was the moment when I realized the value of having a mobile computer that you can carry in  your pocket and you take everywhere with you.  The only thing I carried around in my pocket, then and now, is my wallet.  I thought wouldn't it be awesome when we can integrate both the PDA and the wallet into one?

With NFC payment used by Google Wallet years ago and, now, Apple Pay, we are a step closer to that future.  However, upon seeing the number of smartphone cases that has a flip or cover that includes credit card-sized slots, I also realize just how far we are from having a truly integrated wallet in our smartphones.

These wallet cases remind us that we still need to carry around our driver's license, a credit card or two, or reward cards.  So far, there is only one state I know of that allows identification through a smartphone while only a handful are actually looking to integrating driver's identifications into mobile devices.

However, I'm hopeful the momentum for the smartphone to replace or integrate the contents we now carry in our wallets into apps will happen sooner rather than later given the surge in mobile payments in the last few months. 

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