Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Android of Mobile Banking

So the first Google-phone is here (Read here). It seems to be a well-made phone with many features and something that a lot of people would want to have. (at least it is made by some-one that have been making great PDA-like phones for a long time - I am sure they re-used some of their old designs.) The thing that I am the most intrigued in is the operating system: Android.

As one could expect from some-one like Google, Android is different to all operating systems that phones run on and this is what is really interesting (Read more here). Some of the characteristics of the operating system in this case have major implications for mobile banking and I would like to highlight a few.

First, let me just describe the biggest differences in Android and other existing mobile phone interfaces. I would argue that the biggest differences are the following:
  • Android is much more open than any other operating system. Developers have much more control and access to phone resources than with other operating systems. This will enable more people to write applications for the phone.
  • The operating system allows individual applications to access other applications. The interaction of applications with each other is much more powerful, allowing for the activation of one application of another and the passing of data between the two applications.
These two characteristics are good and they are bad from a mobile banking perspective:

This is great news for bona-fide developers of mobile banking applications. It is now possible to deploy much more powerful banking applications and also allowing for third party developers to release applications that can interact with banking and payment applications on the phone. As a case in point, VISA announced (Read more here) recently that they have developed and are in the process of developing a whole new host of applications for the Android.

The downside of the openness of the Android platform is of course that much more developers can now apply themselves to build applications with harmful intent. The ability to craft phising applications and other attack applications have now increased significantly. Developers of mobile banking applications will have to work twice as hard to ensure that consumers are protected.

Much more discussion is needed on this topic.

1 comment:

Hannes@Home said...

Seems as if the first mobile banking applications just launched for Android. I would love to know more about the security paradigms deployed. (press)