Google CEO Eric Schmidt says the latest upgrade to the firm's Android mobile phone operating system will include near field communication technology, enabling users to make contactless payments with their handsets.
At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco yesterday, Schmidt demonstrated the latest version of the operating system, code-named Gingerbread, which will be released in a "few weeks". He did not reveal the name or manufacturer of the handset used.
The industry standard NFC chip means that handsets can be linked to credit cards or PayPal accounts and used to make low value contactless payments at the point-of-sale - a development Schmidt told delegates could see phones "could eventually replace credit card."
Google appears to have beaten to the punch its rival Apple, which has long been expected to add NFC capability to the iPhone 5.