We just ran through a demo of the PayPal Here app that was unveiled today and there's frankly not anything complicated or surprising about using this as a credit card payment system — especially if you're at all familiar with Square. That's actually a good thing: better that mobile payments be staid than flashy. There are two modes for the app: a merchant can choose to either enter their inventory into the system and check out items that way (sadly, barcode scanning does not seem to be a feature here), or they can simply punch in amounts directly. Once the amount is in, the customer can pay via credit card, debit card, cash, or check. Checks (and credit cards too, actually) can be scanned in with the camera, while the cash option is simply there for merchants who want to use the app as their complete register solution.

As for the dongle itself, well, it's a big, blue, plastic triangle. It's big: much bigger than the Square card reader. It's blue: matching with PayPal's own branding and coming in two tones, neither of which is very appealing. It's plastic: presumably these were prototypes we were looking at, but we're not impressed with the build quality at all. There are big seams where the parts come together and the plastic itself has a finish that lacks the subtle elegance of the Square reader. It's a triangle: yes, it's good for unified branding, but it also gives PayPal's designers a way to integrate the "wing," a small bit that pivots down to buttress the reader up against the front of the iPhone. It does add a bit of stability, but it seems more like a solution in search of a problem than anything else.

PayPal says that right now the app is available on the iPhone and the iPad — though the latter will simply be a blown-up version of the iPhone app, a major disappointment. An Android version is also in the works, but no word yet on when it will be available.