Android, NFC, and location-based apps

by Kristen Nicole

Google Android = mobile wallet?

There’s an industry convergence occurring on Android, with location and personal cloud data at the center of this transition. A number of recent developments from the mobile industry have demonstrated this, pushing location-based search, business and travel apps. Google’s doing a great deal to rule this space, as we can see from its goals around Near Field Communication (NFC) integration for future platform versions like Gingerbread.

The direct support of the Near Field Communication API makes Google (GOOG) a middleman for secure credit card payments and other accounts that could be used for checking in at a local café just by swiping your card. Its early support is also a stamp of approval for this system, jump-starting the industry’s transition towards making our smartphones our mobile wallets.

Orbitz & Priceline test Android waters

Location is a huge tie-in for whatever development comes of NFC integration, and I can think of a couple new apps that would be glad to take advantage of its upcoming API offerings. Orbitz (OWW) and Priceline (PCLN) have both launched Android apps this week, rounding out a nice-sized set of competing travel apps in the Market.

Orbitz quickly pulls up hotel, flight and car rental search, with access to your saved itenirary. Designed to run on all Android versions, the free app is on the simpler so far, and a mere stepping stone to its mobile site. Priceline’s free app brings its famed negotiator to Android, with Hotel Negotiator. It targets travelers in need of nearby room and board.