Why Android Pay isn't really about payments at all

Karen Webster at PYMNTS:

Unlike Apple and Apple Pay, Android Pay is not really an “Android” play, it is a Google Android Play, and the two aren’t the same.

Google, of course, has been regarded as the unofficial godfather of Android since it acquired it in 2005, but Android is an open source software platform that can be licensed, and modified out the wazoo, by anyone who wants to use it.

Which means that it has a huge fragmentation problem staring it right in the face – a huge obstacle when trying to replicate an Apple-like strategy.

At its launch, Google announced that Android Pay would be supported on devices running KitKat and higher. That’s roughly 44 percent of Android enabled devices, and none of those that operate a forked version of Android, like the Amazon Fire phone, for instance or Samsung’s Tizen.

That means that despite Android having a humongous share of the operating system market worldwide, its potential Android Pay customer funnel is reduced by the number of consumers with handsets that have both NFC capabilities and that are running a current version of Android. By comparison, more than 80 percent of iPhones have upgraded to its most recent operating system, iOS 8.

Absolutely terrific analysis by Karen highlighting all the challenges Android Pay faces in order to just get to the level of Apple Pay, as well as the broader implications of Google's search-heavy business model going forward.

It's a long read, but she really nails it. 

Source: PYMNTS