Nokia Announces More NFC Symbian Phones; Payment Supported in 2012

Aug 24 2011

Update: Nokia today launched three new NFC-enabled Symbian smartphones, along with yet another update to its Symbian operating system, but the handset maker told NFC Times it will not support secure elements on its Symbian NFC phones until the first half of 2012.

The new smartphones, the Nokia 700, 701 and 600, all support NFC tag reading and peer-to-peer communication. The affordable phones are scheduled to be released on the market globally during the third quarter. 

The announcement of the phones and Symbian “Belle” update follows just a week after Nokia announced the imminent release for over-the-air downloads of its previous Symbian update, Anna, which is the first Symbian version to support NFC. The Anna update potentially turns on the NFC features of millions of previously shipped C7 phones. Belle has the same NFC support as Anna.

Nokia has been at pains to keep its customers interested in its Symbian phones, as they anticipate the first Nokia handsets supporting Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. The first Windows phones supporting NFC from Nokia are expected in 2012.

Nokia is expected to support NFC in all or most of its future Symbian handsets, which it pledged to continue to introduce for the next 12 months. It’s possible they could later be updated to support SIM-based secure elements and card emulation, NFC Times has learned. But no Symbian NFC phone from Nokia will support payment or other applications on secure elements until next year, a spokeswoman told NFC Times.

“Nokia believes that open NFC has a far greater financial value over the next couple of years, e.g., pairing devices, sharing content and using the device to read tags,” the spokeswoman said. “Nokia will bring secure NFC to the Symbian platform in first half of the 2012.”

Nokia estimated earlier this year that NFC services that do not require applications to be securely stored on SIM cards, embedded chips or other secure elements will account for 68% of the value of the NFC market in 2013. Applications on secure elements would make up the remaining 32%. It did not give a projection for actual revenue.

The new smartphones, the 700, 701 and 600, do not yet support secure elements and neither does the C7. A MeeGo-based smartphone from Nokia, the N9, due out soon, also will not support the secure applications. 

But it’s possible one or more of the new phones and other Symbian devices that Nokia introduces later this year supporting NFC could be updated over the air in the first half of 2012 to support payment or ticketing applications on SIM cards. That’s provided there is a physical single-wire connection built into the phones between the NFC chip and SIM slot, complying with the single-wire protocol standard. This is likely in one or more of the new phones. The phones do not have embedded secure chips. And the C7 won’t be able to be upgraded to support secure payment or ticketing.

It the software in the phones were to be updated to support SIM-based applications, then the entry-level smartphones could extend the reach of NFC to more consumers, for example, being used for transit ticketing in Asian countries, where there is a well-developed infrastructure of contactless transit terminals. Update: Before that, Nokia is promoting NFC with such tag-reading applications as check-ins on social-networking sites, as part of a tie-in with Chinese site Jiepang. End update

The Nokia 600 will retail for €180 (US$260) before operator subsidies, said Nokia. The Nokia 700 will cost about €270 without subsidies. That’s lower than high-end smartphones and the Nokia Symbian phone prices are expected to come down.

Besides the lower-cost Nokia phones, Research in Motion yesterday introduced an entry-level NFC-enabled smartphone in its Curve series that likely supports the single-wire protocol and an embedded chip. Either one could carry payment and transit ticketing applications. And Chinese phone maker Huawei produced an affordable NFC-enabled Android phone introduced by Turkish operator Turkcell in July.

Of course, mobile operators in any market launching payment or ticketing on SIM cards would have to issue specially equipped NFC-enabled SIMs that also support the local transit application and security protocol, such as Mifare, or are certified to carry a particular payment application. End update.

The Finnish phone maker is promoting the Belle update as continuing the work of Anna to “improve and modernize the Symbian experience,” according to a post on Nokia’s official blog today. That includes such tweaks as new widgets, more customization options and new apps, along with the built-in NFC functionality. It will make Belle available to the C7 and other Symbian phones running Symbian Anna.

Anna already supports NFC, but Nokia in its press material today clearly is playing up NFC as a top selling point for the Belle update and the three new lower-end Symbian phones it announced. Nokia also announced a new NFC-enabled Bluetooth headset today, which it calls the Nokia Essence.

“NFC capabilities allow any of the three new smartphones to pair with NFC-enabled mobile accessories, such as speakers or Bluetooth headphones and headsets,” said Nokia in a statement. “(NFC) allows contacts, videos and images to be shared with other NFC-enabled devices and smartphones, as well as pairing with NFC-enabled mobile accessories.”

Nokia is continuing to push its so-called “open NFC” applications, which use NFC’s tag-reading and P2P modes. In its announcement today, Nokia repeated plans to support an NFC tie-in with the popular game Angry Birds with the new handsets, enabling users to unlock additional levels of the game by tapping their NFC phones on those of friends or on Angry Bird toys containing a tag. Angry Birds will come preloaded on all three phones. There will be support for other games, as well, such as Fruit Ninja and Asphalt 5, said Nokia, which said the latter game would come preloaded on the Nokia 701.

But the handset maker’s focus remains on its forthcoming phones supporting Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. Nokia and Microsoft plan to introduce NFC-enabled Windows phones, but not until next year, as NFC Times has reported. The first Nokia Windows phone will probably be out by the end of the year, but without NFC.

HEADLINE NEWS

As Their Resistance Crumbles, Australia’s Big Four Banks have Found that Opposing Apple Pay Too Costly, Despite Tech Giant’s Fees

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Another one of Australia’s big four banks, National Australia Bank, has given in to pressure from customers and has agreed to support Apple Pay.

In-Depth: Ticketmaster Embraces Digital Ticketing to Cut Fraud and Improve Communication with Ticket Purchasers and Fans

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based sports and entertainment ticketing vendor Ticketmaster sees its new digital-ticketing technology–supporting bar codes and NFC–as a way to reduce fraud and stay in touch with both ticket purchasers and event attendees.

Japanese Payments Players Expand Support for QR Code-Based Payments

May 20 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japan’s mobile payments market is expanding, but the talk is not about NFC payments services, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or the pioneering FeliCa wallet services originally pushed by NTT DoCoMo and rail operator JR East.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority to Accept Visa Cards for Fares in June

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Singapore’s Land Transport Authority announced today it will begin accepting Visa-branded contactless cards to pay fares on trains and buses starting June 6, only two months after it launched its “SimplyGo” open-loop fare collection service with only Mastercard-branded cards.

Consulting Firm: Not Sure Whether Contactless Card Deployment Will Help or Hurt NFC Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With U.S. banks planning to renew tens of millions of their EMV credit and debit cards this year with an added contactless interface, industry observers are naturally considering how the rollouts will affect adoption of NFC mobile wallets.

Rio de Janeiro Metro Launches Open-Loop Payments with New Visa Transit SAM

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Rio de Janeiro Metro has launched its planned open-loop payments service, one of the first Latin American transit systems to accept bank cards–in this case, Visa credit cards­–directly for payment of rides.

In-Depth: Major Pays Wallets Accelerate Support for Closed-Loop Transit Ticketing

NFC TIMES Exclusive – One of the key battlegrounds for Apple, Google and Samsung as they seek more users for their respective Pays wallets is transit ticketing–with all three tech giants targeting both open-loop payments and–perhaps surprisingly–also closed-loop transit cards. (See table below).

Report: Will Deployment of Contactless EMV Cards in U.S. Drive Growth of NFC Mobile Payments? Conclusions Hard to Draw

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With U.S. banks finally beginning to issue dual-interface EMV cards in significant numbers this year and more U.S. merchants accepting contactless and NFC payments, a key question becomes whether contactless card payment will help or hurt the prospects for what has generally been considered as disappointing take-up of NFC wallets.

Half of Face-to-Face Visa Transactions Outside of U.S. Expected to be Contactless Soon

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Half of all domestic face-to-face transactions with Visa-branded cards globally–outside of the U.S.–are expected to be contactless within the next two months, with Visa reporting that contactless technology is maturing in numerous countries worldwide, mainly in Europe and Asia.

Analysis: Canadians Increasingly Pay with Contactless Cards, Although Cash Continues to Play Key Role

Apr 22 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Contactless transactions in Canada topped 50% of all in-store card transactions for the first time ever during the first quarter of this year, said the country’s largest payments card processor, Moneris, this week.

Contactless Card Transactions Could Overtake Taps from NFC Phones ‘Quickly’ in the U.S.: Industry Veteran

Apr 23 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Transactions from contactless bank cards in the U.S. will “quickly surpass” those from NFC phones by the end of 2020, despite cards being rolled out much later than NFC-enabled wallets, industry veteran Randy Vanderhoof, head of the Secure Technology Alliance industry trade group and the affiliated U.S. Payments Forum, told NFC Times.

Samsung's Deal with Taiwan’s EasyCard is Latest in Global Push by Pays Wallets to Support Transit Payments

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Samsung Pay is the first of the major NFC Pays wallets to announce it is working with Taiwan’s large closed-loop transit and retail payments service EasyCard, as it seeks to differentiate itself in a crowded and fast-growing mobile-payments market on the island nation.