Sony Ericsson to release 'portfolio' of NFC Android smartphones

Sony Ericsson will release a "portfolio" of smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform with Near Field Communications technology to enable mobile payments, according to NXP Semiconductor, an NFC chip vendor that will produce the silicon for the offerings. A Sony Ericsson spokesman confirmed to FierceWireless that the company will bring NFC to future Android phones, but declined to say how many devices will have NFC or when they will be released.

NXP's NFC solution is in Samsung's Nexus S, which is the first smartphone to take advantage of Google's Google Wallet system for mobile payments, which was unveiled last month. In a statement, NXP said its solution will allow Sony Ericsson to "use NFC to further enhance its consumers' mobile experiences, creating a portfolio of smartphones that enable mobile transactions."

For Sony Ericsson, the decision to hop onboard the NFC bandwagon for smartphone is a pragmatic one, given the attention other handset and platform vendors have lavished on the technology in recent months. After stumbling with outdated Android software in its earlier smartphones, Sony Ericsson retooled its approach and has vowed to stay at the vanguard as it tries to reach its goal of becoming the largest Android vendor.

Other players in the smartphone market have either committed to adding NFC to their products or are rumored to be doing so. Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) added NFC to its latest BlackBerry Bold, which T-Mobile USA plans to launch later this year. The struggling handset vendor has said it will put NFC into more BlackBerry devices as well. Hewlett-Packard will reportedly add NFC to its webOS smartphones and tablets and could have commercial offerings ready by year-end.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has not indicated if, or when, it will add NFC to the iPhone; there was no mention of the technology earlier this month at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference. However, Apple also did not unveil any new iPhone hardware at the event.

For more:
- see this release
- see this GigaOM post

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