CyanogenMod releases SimplyTapp NFC payment app for CM9.1

CyanogenMod is pretty famous in the custom ROM world. Though the team is busy working on CyanogenMod 10 with Jelly Bean, they haven’t forgotten to update CyanogenMod 9 Ice Cream Sandwich ROM. The update, CyanogenMod 9.1, brings in some exciting features.

CyanogenMod 9.1 will now support the brand new SimplyTapp near-field communication system. SimplyTap is basically a NFC payment platform and is brain child of two dedicated CyanogenMod users, Doug and Ted. NFC payment is fast becoming a standard and Simplytapp just provides a method for evolving, securing and expanding NFC payments. Currently, NFC payment is an embattled standard. The team has done a great job by implementing such a system on CyanogenMod.

It’s a NFC payment system, so obviously you will need a NFC enabled device to make use of SimplyTapp service.
The supported devices include the:
• Galaxy Nexus
• Nexus S(4G)
• Samsung Galaxy ll
• And any other NFC enabled device supported by CyanogenMod!

As the CyanogenMod website reads, any device that is compatible with CM9.1 and is equipped with an NFC chip will be able to make use of this service. You have to simply “Tapp” in order to make a payment with your phone, however, there are limitations on merchant locations where you can pay using this method. You can recharge the “anywhere” card using PayPal, which is pretty convenient. NFC systems from McDonalds, Tim Hortons and HEB grocery stores can be added to the app. As of now, only U.S. Dollars is the supported currency.

Below are some relevant information fetched from CyanogenMod official webpage:

• To Sign-up – flash CM9.1 on your NFC capable device, and get the Tapp app
• Costs – It is between $0 and $5 to get an NFC card. That all depends on the card or cards you select.
• Cards supported – At the moment you can sign up for a Tapp Anywhere Card (like a gift card with a fixed balance), CyanogenMod Tapp Card (Reloadable), as well as various store cards (depending on location).
• Security – Card credentials are stored in the cloud and enabled to the point-of-sale via standard security mechanisms. By evolving from the plastic card model, this keeps your credentials (aka payment information) secure, accessible by only you, and only when you need them.

In the meantime, Isis, the mobile-payment joint venture backed by AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA Inc., is all set to make a debut in September. MasterCard and T-Mobile have revealed some of the devices which will be supported by Isis, though there may be more devices. Below is a list of supported devices from various carriers:

• Galaxy S II
• Galaxy S III
• HTC Amaze 4

• DROID Incredible 4G LTE
• Galaxy S III

• One X
• Galaxy S III

That’s quite a lot of devices over there, and all those devices are essentially the most popular high end devices from each of the above carriers. It should be noted that Sprint won’t be supporting Isis as it’s not a part of the Isis consortium.

“The focus has been: Get it right, make sure it’s secure,” Brad Duea, senior vice president of product management at T-Mobile USA, said in an interview.

The consortium made few changes in their strategy last year, where in which they have decided to make use of credit-card companies to handle transactions rather than the carriers themselves. VeriFone Systems Inc., a payment terminals company has its hands in the project and is all set to introduce implement the system in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, next month.

Coming back to SimplyTapp, it has a very intuitive interface at the moment. The original Google Wallet is gaining momentum slowly, and the upcoming Isis will only take the whole NFC enabled payment method one step further. It’s great to see an alternative built fully by the community. SimplyTapp will eventually add more merchants, and supporting devices will be expanded by implementing it in more ROMs out there, like AOKP and MIUI – thus bringing more devices under its umbrella.

One reasonable question that may have popped up in your mind is that why SimplyTapp requires custom ROMs to work. Well, SimplyTapp functions in such a way that it allows separation of the card credential from the vulnerable handset, thus tying card issuer to the card holder directly. This allows any large retailer, bank, or an individual application developer to implement the system and control point-of-sale payment functionality, and ultimately dispense it to any NFC capable device. Such functionality requires modifications to be done on OS level of the NFC stack, and CyanogenMod poses as a great breeding ground.

Currently, the Tapp app is only compatible with CM 9.1 as the CM 10 is developing rapidly to reliably add the necessary code, nevertheless, the stable final release and future beta versions of CM10 should support SimplyTapp. What are your thoughts on this? Have you given SimplyTapp a try yet? Let us know in the comment section below.

Source: CyanogenMod Blog

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