Android mobile wallet, OS attracts security concerns, trademark lawsuits

by Kristen Nicole

Google launched its Mobile Wallet last week, unveiling details of the hopeful plan to turn your Android phone into a digital version of your credit cards, coupons and loyalty programs. Hinging on Google’s NFC technology and supporting kiosk infrastructure, the Mobile Wallet has become fresh grounds for growing security concerns. Less than a week after launch, Google Wallet’s weaknesses are being uncovered, raising consumer questions around mobile payments, as well as Google’s long-term position in this emerging market.

Mobile Wallet’s weak link: open Android app standards

An article in PCWorld calls out Google’s associated Android app the Achilles heel of their Wallet security, worrying that tying security standards to an app could incur the wrath of malicious apps developed to access the NFC card, which securely stores your mobile payment information. Android’s open platform, then, is really the weak spot, as it’s not exactly a harsh environment for “bad apple” apps. Even as Google and Apple both face government officials for mobile data collection and use, Google could find itself defending yet another initiative for the Android OS, again centering on security. The article goes on to note that Apple wouldn’t face similar security issues for a mobile wallet app, as it has a stricter gateway system for its app economy.

PayPal, Apple wary of Google Android tactics

While Google is taking steps to make the Android Market a safer place, pulling known dangerous apps from the Market and devices, and pushing through security updates to protect consumer data, Google faces another battle regarding its Mobile Wallet project. PayPal filed a lawsuit against Google last week, with claims of the company executives stealing trade secrets. After a deal between the two companies fell through, Google poached a PayPal executive and proceeded to launch Mobile Wallet. Google’s already responded to PayPal’s claims, saying they respect trade secrets and “will defend ourselves against these claims,” but the legal battle only heightens industry interest in owning this market.

Trade secrets have become the topic of discussion for Android’s OS between Samsung and Apple as well, with Samsung demanding early access to Apple’s next iPhone and iPad prototypes. The request was presented to the court after Apple asked to see Samsung’s newest smartphones and tablets, which Apple claims are copies of their popular iOS devices. Samsung’s been one of the many manufacturers designing devices around Android to offer Apple alternatives, with the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab among the most popular. The court ruled in favor of Samsung, Computerworld reports, putting attention on Apple’s upcoming iPhone in particular, which may not be released until September, breaking with its practice of launching new models during the summer.