Google Wallet’s fate is uncertain

The latest and greatest Galaxy Nexus is about to go on sale from Verizon, but it won’t include support for Google’s mobile payment app.

But that isn’t because it doesn’t have the necessary hardware specifications for Google Wallet to run. Instead, it’s because “Verizon asked us not to include this functionality in the product,” according to a Google spokesperson.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, Verizon has partnered with T-Mobile and AT&T on a project called Isis, which is Google Wallet competitor. That leaves Sprint as the only major carrier willing to support Google’s flagship Near Field Communication (NFC) platform.

The Google Wallet app act the same way as “contactless payment” credit cards – users can tap their phone at a checkout register to pay for their purchase. The possibilities range from allowing stores to offer special discounts to Google Wallet users, to the potential of brand new payment providers entering the market. For the first time ever, there could be a new way to pay at the store beyond cash or debit/credit card.

But Google Wallet’s capacity to shift the market will be surely hampered if it doesn’t achieve mass support from the entire mobile industry.

Isis is set to begin trials later this month and could easily overtake Google Wallet as the preferred mobile payment solution. To date, though, very few handsets actually support NFC. The functionality needs to be built into the phone itself and is not something that can be added through a software update.