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Monday, June 20, 2005

Felica Mobile Wallet

With 12 phones already on the market and 3 million subscribers NTT DoCoMo's Felica system has moved the electronic wallet from fantasy into reality, now you can buy goods from over 20,000 stores by just placing your mobile phone over the reader. Its that simple. But will it really take off?

The technology is good: the RFID chipset is a proven technology already in use in credit cards in Europe; and the idea is good, managing all your payments from one point without the need to carry cards and cash will bring convenience for the millions of users who already carry their mobile phones with them everywhere they go. So it would seem perfect sense to merge all three things into your handset.

However, there are critics who say that the phone will never replace the convenience of slipping out that bit of plastic from your wallet when the bill comes. And that the prestige that comes with owning a platinum card will never be replicated on a cell phone. There are some who say that cash will never die being the perfect way to pay for most day to day items.

Regardless of which is the correct view, there seems to be no reason why there wont be a use for another, easy method of payment. And so for now my money is on the Felica standard winning through, well, at least in Japan.


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