US mobile operator Sprint has announced two new NFC-enabled handsets that support Google Wallet. The operator said at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that it will launch the search giant’s Galaxy Nexus (pictured) and the LG Viper 4G LTE. The new models will give a much-needed boost to the number of handsets on which Google’s payment service is available. The service, which launched three months ago, is still only available to users of a single handset: the Samsung Nexus S 4G.
Also at CES, Sprint said it would include NFC as a standard feature in all its LTE handsets in the future apart from the lowest priced models. In an interview with Light Reading, Trevor Van Norman, Sprint’s director of consumer product marketing, said the operator has aggressive plans to push NFC to subscribers through LTE handsets, although the cost of NFC chipsets may rule out their inclusion in the cheapest devices.
Of the two new handsets, the operator describes the new Galaxy Nexus as its second smartphone supporting Google Wallet "enabling the phone to be used like a wallet to make safe, secure purchases at hundreds of thousands of participating retailers". Meanwhile the LG handset it describes in slightly more downbeat language. It is described as merely “NFC-enabled and capable of providing Google Wallet”. No information about launch date and pricing was announced by Sprint for either handset. In addition to their NFC capability, the operator is also pushing how the two handsets will run on its LTE network. Along with the two handsets, it also announced a LTE-capable mobile hotspot. They will be the first devices launched on the operator’s 4G network.