As you can see in the above image, documentation is being sent around to partners stating a September 19 launch day. We’ve heard from others that this is accurate. And it also lines up nicely with NFC World Congress, which kicks off tomorrow in the French Riviera. Google is not listed as a speaker or exhibitor at the event, but their main partner MasterCard is the official sponsor.
Back in May when Google Wallet and Offers were initially unveiled, Google stated that field trials for Wallet would beging immediately and that an official launch would come this summer. Initial reports pointed towards a September 1 launch. Technically, summer lasts until September 22, so it looks like Google will hit their deadline with a few days to spare.
While this will be the official launch, the product itself will likely still be quite limited. The only officially compatible phone is the Nexus S 4G, which is only available on Sprint in the U.S. Google has an NFC sticker product to bring tap-and-pay to other phones, but it’s not clear if that will be ready at launch or not. Hardware to enable the payments on the merchant end is also needed. And again, MasterCard has been the only official partner on the credit card side of things so far. Perhaps Google will have more to say on that tomorrow. But the above documentation still points to PayPass-enabled Citi MasterCards as the only way to use the service for now.
It also makes sense for Google to get Wallet out there now before their next flagship Android phone, the Nexus Prime, launches next month. It too will have NFC capabilities built in and will bring the Wallet functionality to the much larger Verizon customer base.