Microsoft held a conference on Wednesday, with all the Steve Jobs-style showmanship that has come to define tech-gadget launches, showcasing its new Windows Phone 8. Live blogs and tweets from the conference indicate that Microsoft’s Wallet app is of particular interest. It is NFC-enabled and according to Engadget, it promises to be the “most complete wallet experience” — one assumes, aside from the real thing, which is actually a physical wallet.
The Microsoft Wallet will be able to “carry” both credit and debit cards, unlike Apple’s Passbook. However, like Passbook, it will carry loyalty cards, reports Engadget. The Wallet will also integrate with third-party apps, and according to The Verge, it will support local deals programs like Groupon.
Harry McCracken, who covers technology for TIME Magazine, tweets that Microsoft executive “[Joe] Belfiore says Chase will introduce a native Windows Phone app later this year.”
The Verge reports that Belfiore also said Microsoft “has been working with ISIS,” the mobile wallet supported by a troika of mobile carriers, and that he “[expects] to have a solution with [them] next year, but not at launch.”
Another difference between the Microsoft Wallet and Googles is this:
[Belfiore] made a point of specifying that it differs from services like Google Wallet because it uses a secure payment element embedded into SIM cards, rather than the phone itself. The benefits of such a system aren’t glaringly apparent, though Belfiore gave the example that it’d be easy to swap your wallet from one device to another by simply moving your SIM card.
Also unlike the other mobile wallets on offer, Microsoft’s is 100 percent ready for the local deals market. The Verge reports that the app integrates its deals with Nokia Maps, allowing for customers to find and redeem deals nearby — you know how we feel about this.
The Wallet “will come loaded on every Windows Phone 8 device, regardless of whether the carrier supports the SIM-based security,” reports Endgadget.