CNN Money published a report today detailing how companies and startups want folks to ditch cash and use their smartphone to pay for everything, but a little nugget about Square’s upcoming hardware plans seemed the most noteworthy:

  • Now Square is planning to expand aggressively into yet another area: hardware. Earlier this year it hired Jesse Dorogusker, an Apple refugee who led the team that built headphones, docking stations, and other peripherals for iOS devices, as its vice president of hardware. “We are going to be doing a lot of hardware,” says Keith Rabois, chief operating officer of Square and a former executive at PayPal and LinkedIn (LNKD). Rabois cagily declines to elaborate, but consider this: In a pilot program the company recently began installing a software and hardware bundle that includes Square-powered iPads and iPhones in New York City taxicabs. It serves as a payment mechanism and replacement for those annoying TV screens that are common in the backseats of cabs. People with knowledge of Square’s plans say that in the future the company hopes to develop similar bundles for other vertical markets. It also plans to build different versions of its reader as it expands overseas. (Did we mention that Dorsey is ambitious?)
  • Taken together, Square’s products begin to offer a glimpse of what a utopia for buyers and sellers could look like: You’re in a new city and feel like sushi, so you fire up your phone and Square’s software offers you a series of suggestions that reflect your tastes; a nearby eatery offering you 20% off your bill catches your eye. Once you’re at the sushi bar, your phone talks wirelessly to the restaurant’s register and settles your bill, including the discount. And the restaurant collects a slew of information about you, which it can use to market to you in the future.

Dorogusker served as Apple’s former director of engineering for iOS accessories for over eight years, and he holds a few patents under his belt. One of his notable hardware inventions includes an iPod/iPhone-integrated personal fitness system capable of monitoring personal fitness data and sharing exercisers’ through the Web.

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