Big-name retailers and vendors paired with innovative near field communications (NFC) technology made the announcement of the Google Wallet test last week a huge announcement. Retailers such as Macy's, Walgreens and American Eagle Outfitters are among companies that are piloting the mobile payment application from Google and vendors including VeriFone, Hypercom, Ingenico, VIVOTech and others.
However, the test isn't as expansive as the names in the release. While the announcement of Google Wallet was big, the release is relatively small-scale due to the limitations of a smaller carrier, a single capable device and two test cities.
The first release of Google Wallet is only available on the Sprint network. Sprint served 50 million customers at the end of 2010, about half as many as competitors Verizon (104 million) and AT&T (95.5 million) served. Plans to add other mobile carriers have not been announced.
In this initial release, Google Wallet is only available on one Sprint phone: the Nexus S 4G. Additional devices with NFC capabilities will follow, though a specific timeline was not provided.
"We are proud that Nexus S 4G is the first smartphone with Google Wallet," says Fared Adib, senior vice president of product development for Sprint. "We look forward to deploying Google Wallet on many of our upcoming Android phones."
Additionally, while many major retailers are included in the pilot, the first Google Wallet field tests are only in locations in New York and San Francisco.
For related content: Macy's, Walgreens and Guess Sign on to Test Google Wallet