Interesting enough, when I thought about writing this article, it originally was going to discuss the mobile banking market and the concept of paying for everything with your mobile phone. Some are calling it the Mobile Wallet concept, as Google (GOOG) did the other day at the Web 2.0 Summit. The internet search giant's next generation Nexus phone will have what is called a tap and pay feature that is intended to replace credit cards. Obviously there are a huge number of companies also approaching this space including PayPal which likes to call the concept a "digital wallet". Of course, keep in mind all this information that is part of your mobile phone can and will be used for targeting on future mobile purchases. This is what PayPal president Scott Thompson said in August:
Mobile wallet solutions are our top priority.
Bottom line: Mobile Banking is a huge business and there are a lot of unique players out there. A year from now it should be interesting to see where is has evolved. But this blog is not going to be about the Mobile Banking market. Before I write about it I need to look much closer at the NFC (Near Field Communication) technology and when it is going to become a standard part of every cell phone.
So what is this article going to cover? Basically a concept that is called a Super Smart phone. In my opinion the designation Super should cover more what it is capable of doing and less of what actually is under the cover. Although if you look at LG's (OTC:LGERF) new 4-inch Android phone with dual-core Tegra 2 and 1080p video coming in early 2011, you have to say that is not your parent's cell phone from just a few years ago.
When thinking of the complete Mobile Wallet concept I decided to step further back and try to envision what other functions it could do. We are already replacing all the credit and debit cards. What else do we have? Drivers license, insurance card and registration? I think those could all be part of your mobile phone.
Fact is, what police officer wouldn't rather have you beam those back to his police car without getting out of his car? The safety factor alone makes that worthwhile. In fact, he can just send your ticket right on to your home and never have to write anything up or tell you to have a nice day. In reality, when you are pulled over did you really need an explanation of what you were doing wrong? I also have various insurance cards for health, dental and prescriptions. Could those all be part of my mobile phone? Certainly it seems very doable. I have business cards. The ability to tap and exchange cards already happens today.
I suddenly realized that I no longer needed to carry a wallet. Now what else do we take when we leave the house? Car keys. Hard for me to imagine these new cars that are keyless starts couldn't operate off a smart phone. I have recently seen security apps that control your house and can be used to lock and unlock your garage and doors. In the near future it seems like I can leave my house without having to carry anything other than my cell phone which I already have made a permanent part of my hand. Who in the last six months has actually left their house (and didn't go back) without their phone?
While this all seems very possible in the not too distant future and you probably don't even need a Super Smart phone, there is one downside: What if your phone runs out of battery or it breaks along the way? That obviously is a concern and as we get more and more dependent on these mobile devices and electronics/Internet in general it is something to give some deep thought to.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.