Google Launching Android Pay Today
Google said it is making Android Pay, its reborn mobile payment service, available to Android handsets beginning today. The app will be pushed to small batches of users over the next week, according to Google. The app will let most NFC-equipped Android handsets running Android 4.4 KitKat and up make tap-and-go mobile payments at more than one million participating vendors across the country. Owners of American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit/debit cards will be able to add their accounts to Android Pay. Some of the first wave of banks supporting Android Pay include Bank of America, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions Bank, USAA, and U.S. Bank. Citi and Wells Fargo will be available in the next few days, says Google, and Capital One is coming soon. A notable exception at launch appears to be Chase, which is one of the nation's largest banks. Some of the participating retailers include American Eagle, Babies'R'Us, Macys, Game Stop, OfficeMax, Subway, BJs, Petco, Sports Authority, and Walgreens. Android Pay uses the same tokenization feature Apple relies on in Apple Pay, which protects transactions. Android Pay is available to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon subscribers. Google said more banks, more retailers, and more features — including support for loyalty cards — are headed to Android Pay in the months ahead. Google is in the midst of a shift of its mobile payment and money management services. Google's original mobile payment app was called Google Wallet. Just yesterday, Google relaunched Wallet as a simpler money-sending service that lets people deliver cash to anyone with an email address. Google Wallet can also be used to manage the Google Wallet Card, which is a debit card linked to the account. Android Pay is replacing the original Google Wallet app for mobile payments at retailers. Earlier this year, Google bought the Softcard mobile payment platform from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. It is the Softcard platform that is behind the new Android Pay service.
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ZTE's Axon 7 Mini Wins Android 7.1.1
ZTE today began pushing Android 7.1.1 to its Axon 7 Mini smartphone. Like the same update that reached the larger Axon 7 earlier this year, today's update for the Axon 7 Mini adds support for T-Mobile WiFi Calling; a wider selection of gender-balanced emoji and GIFs; performance improvements to Google's Daydream VR; and the latest security patches.