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Baby Steps To NFC: PayPal InStore Hits The UK; Juniper Says 1 In 4 To Pay With NFC Phones By 2017

paypal instore

Yesterday, Gartner presented a picture of a $172-billion mobile payments industry that is still largely based around older technologies like SMS and web-based payments, with newer services like NFC chips playing a very marginal role. Today, Juniper Research paints a more encouraging picture for NFC: It says in a new report that one in four consumers in the U.S. and Western Europe will tap, wave and hover NFC-enabled handsets at points of sale to buy goods by 2017. But it also notes that today the number of transactions made on NFC phones in those regions is less than two percent.

The news comes on the same day that PayPal has started to ramp up its mobile payments push internationally — without NFC. The eBay-owned payments company today began the UK launch of a retail mobile payments app for iOS and Android devices, PayPal InStore. The clothing chains Coast, Oasis, Warehouse, and Karen Millen are the first to sign on.

PayPal InStore is currently not powered by NFC — a user creates barcodes for payments using the app and then these get scanned by the cashier, and then deducted from a users’ PayPal account.

The question is whether the door is open for the app to be upgraded to NFC when the chip technology is more ubiquitous — it would certainly make sense, given that it would speed up use of the service.

PayPal last week expanded its mobile payment services in the U.S. by adding 15 more major retailers to the list of those supporting the payments company. In the UK, the company has a headstart with its branding: as TNW points out its main mobile app broke the 1-million user mark as far back as 2010.

PayPal has been looking at a number of different technologies to enable mobile payments. It has trialled NFC, launched a dongle-based service called Here, and looked at ways of using pin codes and credit cards to complete the payments from users’ PayPal accounts. As for PayPal InStore, the Inquirer notes that Windows and BlackBerry versions are also under development.

Meanwhile, Juniper’s NFC projections, in contrast to Gartner’s, are significantly more optimistic not just about how much NFC will be used, but also about how much money will be generated from NFC.

Juniper’s principal analyst, Windsor Holden, believes that there will be $180 billion in mobile NFC transactions by 2017 — just $8 billion more than Gartner believes will be made in mobile payments overall this year. Gartner says that the total transactional value for all kinds of mobile payments will be $617 billion by 2016.

One area where both analysts seem to agree is on the complexity and challenges in making NFC work. Chief among them is that there are a number of parties involved in enabling payments — mobile operators, handset makers, payment providers, retailers and banks — and as Juniper points out a “single point of contact to take responsibility” will be needed to make these services gain credibility with users.

So far, we’ve seen a lot of efforts, including Google Wallet, the Isis consortium, and several commercial projects in Europe (eg, France Telecom working with Visa) — but no clear leader in NFC emerging out of all of that.

Baby Steps To NFC: PayPal InStore Hits The UK; Juniper Says 1 In 4 To Pay With NFC Phones By 2017

Pressly Goes DIY: Will Turn Tumblr, WordPress & Twitter Into Touch-Friendly Websites


Following its November debut, HTML5 publishing platform (and TechCrunch Disrupt finalistPressly, is preparing to launch its self-serve platform for bloggers. Planned to go live this spring, the platform will allow publishers of any kind – big or small –  to transform their WordPress sites, Tumblr blogs, Twitter updates and other social feeds into tablet and touch-friendly sites that work on the iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry PlayBook and Android tablets.

Until now, Pressly has been focused on bringing in major publications to its platform, and has signed up The Toronto Star, The Economist Group, plus a yet-to-launch NBC property, and an unnamed Canadian news site. Meanwhile, well-funded competitor OnSwipe, launched in June 2011, also has a few big names on its platform, including Marie Claire, Ryan Seacrest and Hollywood.com, to name a few, as well as popular tech reads like BetaBeat, TNW, Geek.com and PSFK.

With Pressly’s impending self-serve launch, the platform will be more on par with OnSwipe, which currently offers both a self-serve dashboard and WordPress plugin for making DIY iPad-friendly versions of sites and social feeds. However, unlike OnSwipe, Pressly aims to differentiate itself by offering its service across multiple tablet platforms (not just iPad – see above) as well as by offering support for the iPhone. If you’ve used FlipBoard on the iPhone, then you know that the swipe-and-flip metaphor doesn’t only work on large tablet screens.

In addition, Pressly offers a number of pre-built templates and additional customization options, if you want something with less of an “out of the box” look and feel.

The self-serve option will be a limited rollout initially, with just a few hundred bloggers allowed in at first. The sign up form is here, but Pressly is doing that manufactured word-of-mouth thing (which seems increasingly common, sigh) where you have share links to get bumped up on the invite list. Sorry about that. (It’s still a good product though.)

Pressly Goes DIY: Will Turn Tumblr, WordPress & Twitter Into Touch-Friendly Websites

BBC’s Global iPlayer Heads To The iPhone, iPod touch


While not everyone would agree, I’m firmly of the belief that news (and most everything) sounds much better delivered in a British accent.

The BBC’s new global iPlayer app, which has launched in more than 11 western European countries, offers up much more than just your daily news, but is chock-full of fun words like “arse,” “blimey,” and one of my personal favorites, “daft.” If you’re into that kinda thing (like myself), you likely want to know that the BBC will launch its iPlayer app on the iPhone and iPod touch on Thursday.

The service works a bit differently for the Brits than it does for us international users, reports TNW. In the UK, the iPlayer is more of a back-up type service, allowing you to watch broadcasted content for up to 30 days after it airs. In Europe and now Canada, the app is a much broader subscription service, letting users choose from a wide library of current and former British programming.

But according to the BBC, the growth and expansion of its iPlayer app is about much more than having a mobile presence. It’s about the migration of TV to mobile devices in general, and the BBC sees this platform as a way to further British culture as a whole.

Jana Bennett, president of worldwide networks and Global BBC iPlayer, had this to say:

This platform extension shows how Global iPlayer isn’t just about moving TV to tablet devices, it’s also about a mobile strategy – about truly getting TV everywhere in a way that it hasn’t been before. We also want the global BBC iPlayer to be truly representative of the whole gamut of British creative output, to represent everything that is great about British content – not just the Best of British TV but the Best of British Culture.

BBC’s Global iPlayer Heads To The iPhone, iPod touch