Like many other experts in the payments field, Vanderhoof said mobile payment systems have matured more slowly than expected in the U.S. "There's been so much overhyping of mobile payments that people get fatigued by it," he said. "Also, nobody sees it happening around them."
The Isis launch in Salt Lake City and Austin on Monday will likely spur adoption of mobile payment systems, Vanderhoof said. With the Isis system, users of nine models of NFC-ready smartphones on the three Isis wireless carriers can make contactless payments at retail outlets that have NFC-ready point-of-sale terminals.
A similar service from Google, called Google Wallet, started more than a year ago, using the Galaxy Nexus smartphone on Sprint's network. It has since grown to include 10 more devices. T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile each support one Google Wallet phone.
Vanderhoof commended the Isis launch, but said the nine smartphones capable of working on the Isis system won't be enough to support a robust adoption of mobile payments nationally. However, there should be 20 phones that support Isis by the beginning of 2013, and "that will be a good start," he said.
"Isis will spell problems for Google if Google doesn't become more open," Vanderhoof said, suggesting that Google needs to add more phones and carriers.
A Google spokeswoman, in a statement Monday, welcomed the Isis launch. "Competition is good for the ecosystem," she said in an email. "We're happy to see other companies investing in digital payments. This will create more choice for both consumers and merchants and, in the end, we believe choice is a good thing."
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about mobile payments in Computerworld's Mobile Payments Topic Center.