Is Nokia building a Google Wallet competitor?

Nokia has alluded to a Near Field Communication (NFC) driven wallet app for a long time, but is it finally almost here? According to NFC Rumors, Nokia is in talks with JP Morgan to bring an NFC payment app to Windows Phones and possibly devices powered by Symbian, their home brew OS.

Nokia is still the reigning leader in the number of handsets they produce each year, and this could provide much-needed competition for Google’s runaway train Android, which has been giving the Windows Phone an unceremonious ass-kicking in recent months.

Google Wallet, which has been released for public testing on the Sprint network and only with the Nexus S, has been met with positive reviews but is also being met with resistance, as payment with Wallet is contingent upon the presence of a MasterCard PayPass terminal. Nokia and Microsoft entering the fray may bring some clout to the idea of ubiquitous mobile payments and hasten the transition from traditional payment options.

So, if the rumor holds true, what does that mean for us? For starters, it gives credence to Google’s idea of carrying your wallet in your phone by showing the public that companies will be competing for the space. This should allow the mobile payment niche to start maturing and gain consumer confidence. It also shows that Nokia and Microsoft are poised to make some big moves with Windows Phone 7 on Nokia hardware.

A lot is unclear about this deal, like whether Nokia will be producing the software or simply facilitating it with hardware. Supposedly, we’ll be finding out soon, as the deal is with JP Morgan is nearly complete.

How To Fix the Google Nexus S ‘Search Button Auto-Fire’ Bug

I’ve had my Nexus S for a little over two months now, and my general opinion is that while it is very pretty, some of the software issues (Android 2.3.4) make it almost impossible to use without some considerable donations to the swear jar. Perhaps the most gut-wrenchingly annoying problem is the well-documented ‘Search Button Auto-Fire’ bug.

Jerry enjoying his Nexus S

At seemingly random moments, the Search capacitance button will begin to auto-fire and continue to do so until you’ve chucked your phone through a window. Putting the phone in standby temporarily fixes the issue, until the phone decides to do it again. Window sales are probably at an all-time high in my hometown.

So, how do we fix this issue and regain control of our unruly Nexus S? Simply stated, Android 2.3.6.

Enough complaints flooded into Google that they implemented some fixes to the Android OS a mere FIVE MONTHS after the first reports came rolling in. For some, the over-the-air update is already implemented. Poor sap AT&T customers like me, however, continue to wait.

Screw that. Here’s how you can manually update from Android 2.3.4 to 2.3.6 and get rid of that stupid bug once and for all.

Step 1: Download Android 2.3.6

Download the Android Gingerbread (2.3.6) update (~18 MB) onto your computer. Connect your Nexus S by USB and transfer this update ZIP file to the root of your phone’s file system. If the update is put into a folder, the installation process will fail. Take note of the file name and power off you Nexus.

Step 2: Boot your phone in Recovery Mode

To get your phone into boot/rescue mode, hold the Power and Volume Up buttons at the same time until the bootloader screen is displayed. Using the Volume control, cursor down to Rescue Mode and select with the Standby button.

Step 3: Installation

Once you’ve gotten to Recovery mode, use the Volume control again to cursor down to apply sdcard name-of-update.zip and select with the Standby button. Your update should now begin installing, and once complete, you can reboot to apply the change.

Some users have reported ongoing problems with this bug even after updating. This did the trick for me, and hopefully it will work for you. The Google help forums are full of tips from other users, but don’t expect much help from Google directly, as they are famously bad at customer support.

The Nexus S is a great phone, and with this fix, there shouldn’t be any serious bugs standing in your way. Enjoy!