Nokia makes play for NFC leadership

Having been a long-term supporter of Near Field Communications (NFC), Nokia says it intends a major push into the market with the launch of a range of NFC-enabled handsets in 2010.

The company said the portfolio of handsets will cover both the high- and low-end of the consumer market, ranging from basic, entry-level handsets to smartphones. Some of the new phones will be SIM-enabled, while others will run on the updated Symbian^3 platform.

While there is presently little infrastructure to support NFC handsets, Nokia said that, during the secondhalf of 2010, many of its handsets would be shipping with NFC capabilities. Nokia's industry collaborations VP, Mark Selby, said the company anticipated consumers would be widely using NFC devices by 2012.

"Global trials of NFC, including the O2 NFC trial in 2008, had proved that it is no longer about whether consumers want NFC but about when consumers will get it," said Selby.

Selby speculated NFC transactions were expected to be for small items such as a coffee or sandwiches, with metro travel also being a target market.

Separately, France's Pompidou Centre in Paris is to put NFC tags beside every exhibit so that visitors can receive more information on the artist and work via a suitably equipped handset.

The recent announcement that Nokia will radically reduce its handset portfolio will, according to Selby, not impact this NFC initiative.

Also, Dubai First, banking subsidiary of Dubai Group, and UAE-based telecom provider du are participating in the first NFC mobile payment pilot in the Middle East. The trial, which will continue until the Q2/2010, will enable Dubai First customers to make purchases using their du mobile devices at MasterCard PayPass enabled locations in the UAE.

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