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Starbucks today rolled out a new Android application that allows users to pay with their mobile phones, find nearby stores and manage gift cards. The Seattle coffee retailer also announced that its mobile payment technology — which essentially turns mobile phones into a digital wallet by swiping the phone next to a bar-code scanner– will now be available at Starbucks outlets inside 1,000 Safeway supermarkets across the country.

The mobile payment technology was already available at 6,800 Starbucks stores in the U.S. With Safeway and Target, the company said that about 9,000 stores will have the ability to accept payments from mobile devices.

The Android app was highly anticipated.

The company’s director of mobile and emerging platforms, K.C. MacLaren, told GeekWire last month that they were working on an Android version of the popular app. At the time, MacLaren also expressed some of the challenges that mobile developers encounter when working on Android. And he noted how the mobile platform is catching up to Apple’s iOS.

“It still has heavy market share, but Android is catching up quickly. But their SDK — in terms of development environment — is really now maturing,” he said. “They are about a year behind where Apple is, but they are catching up.”

Adam Brotman, vice president of digital ventures at Starbucks, said that with the addition of Android the company now can now serve about 90 percent of smartphone users with the Starbucks app. The new app is available on Android phones running 2.1 or above.

Previously on GeekWire: “Q&A: Starbucks mobile exec on Android, mobile ordering

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