Google Wallet to Drop Support for All Pre-KitKat Devices and Some KitKat Devices in One Month
Earlier today, Google updated its support pages to state that one month from now, Google Wallet will drop support for Tap & Pay functionality on devices running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and below. This may be somewhat of a surprise for many, but it is highly likely that this is due to the NFC changes that were introduced with KitKat.
For those who don’t recall, Android 4.4 brought changes to the way NFC worked to make an NFC Secure Element unnecessary for Google Wallet Tap & Pay functionality. This is, of course, Host Card Emulation, and it can be assumed that Google only wishes to use HCE going forward. However, not all devices support HCE. And as such, not all devices running 4.4 will have access to Tap & Pay. Currently this includes the Galaxy Note 3, Nexus 7 (2012), and HTC Evo 4G LTE. Additionally, devices still on Android 4.3 that currently have access to Wallet but have not yet been updated to 4.4 (e.g. Galaxy Nexus) will be left out in the cold.
While this may be upsetting for some–namely Galaxy Nexus owners who currently have access but will lose functionality–it’s understandable for Google to want to streamline the functionality for other devices.