Isis is a bad thing for the Android development community

Payments through NFC have become increasingly more popular, through methods like Google Wallet. By simply pressing an enabled smartphone to a credit card terminal, a payment is made for the product being purchased. In all, it is a useful feature. However, it has been greatly restricted due to limited availability.

Google Wallet is currently the only service available in the US, and is pretty much restricted to two handset (one of which isn’t even native to the US). On top of that, the only carrier supporting it is Sprint. Why only Sprint? Because Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are all apart of an upcoming NFC payment system known as Isis. Isis is said to work much like Google Wallet, but it already has much more support and partners, despite not even being available.

One of the nice features about Google Wallet is that it still operates on handsets that are rooted, and I can personally confirm this. I used Google Wallet at a McDonald’s while the phone in question was rooted, with an unlocked bootloader. Sure, it may have even opened a security hole, but the fact that Google is open enough to offer Google Wallet on rooted handsets is reassuring for those who like to modify their handsets.

And this is where I begin to lose confidence in Isis. If the carriers have their way, Isis will be locked down tight. That includes restricting devices that are rooted from using the service. Such an idea came to me from my dear friend Dima, and it makes complete sense.

The carriers’ reasoning would be something like “for increased security”. That “increased security” would effectively lock out a large user base from using the service, something I doubt they want to lose. As surprising as it may sound, many who root their Android devices are incredibly tech savvy. Shocker, right?

Those tech savvy users tend to be early adopters. Look at Google Wallet, for example. It is only officially available on Nexus devices, a phone line that is favored by the tech savvy Android community. So, by cutting out the Android development community, Isis is basically shooting itself in the foot.

I can almost guarantee that AT&T and Verizon will not allow Isis to run on rooted handsets, and I’m sure that the banks and credit card companies a board will agree with them. What do you think? Will the restriction to non-rooted phone be the downfall of Isis? Let us know in the comments, or tell me personally @jlehto43 on Twitter!

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