Fitbit’s been trying for more than a year to get NFC payment technology into its products; we picked up a strong rumor a few months ago (which we were unable to adequately confirm) that Fitbit had built production quantities of a fitness tracker with payment tech but was unable to get it to work properly. Today comes news that Fitbit has bought the wearable payment tech portfolio of Coin, along with the implication that Coin has reached the end of its troubled road.
Coin is best known for a card that’s used to store and mimic credit and debit cards; rather than having to carry around a half-dozen or so cards, the idea is to use one device that could look like any of those cards to a payment terminal or ARM. The initial crowd-funded product was delayed by about a year, and even then did not work as reliably as promised. A second version didn’t fare much better, although the company says 250,000 were sold.
Coin had, however, made a deal with Mastercard to build payment systems into wearables from Atlas, Moov, and Omate. It is that deal and technology that Fitbit has bought. The card business remains with Coin, whose website reports that it has sold out of cards, with no indication of what a follow-on product might be. The company’s statement implies but doesn’t not quite say that there won’t be a follow-on.
No purchase price was announced.
Fitbit’s statement said that the company had “no plans” to put NFC in its products this year, which makes sense seeing that the company’s road map for 2016 is probably firmly set. 2017, however, is not all that far away….