Nokia to Launch NFC Tag Applications in Taiwan

Nokia is introducing a handful of tag-based applications in Taiwan for the planned launch of new Nokia Symbian phones there.

Among the applications is one that would enable users to more easily summon taxis by tapping tags. There are also a few couponing and loyalty applications designed to get users into Nokia retail stores in Taiwan.

The small couponing and loyalty applications would run in an “open NFC wallet app” that users can download from the Nokia store. Locally based NFC company Toro developed the app.

The applications are another example of Nokia’s “open NFC” push, which promotes tag-reading and peer-to-peer applications over payment or ticketing services based on secure elements. The Finland-based handset maker believes the tag-reading and P2P applications will spread across the market sooner because they are much easier to implement commercially than secure payment.

“Nokia believes that open NFC–pairing devices, sharing content, using the device to read tags, checking in, loyalty, couponing, etc.–has great value to our consumers,” Charles Shen, head of marketing for Nokia Taiwan, said in a statement.

Nokia said it plans to introduce the Symbian-based Nokia 701 and 700 in Taiwan starting this month, through its retail stores and also through telco Taiwan Mobile, and both of the phones could run the applications. Nokia announced the two phones, along with the even more affordable smartphone, the Nokia 600, last month, saying the handsets would be the first to support an update to Symbian, known as Belle. All three phones could run the Toro wallet app, called BEeFun, said the software firm.

Nokia said it would begin shipping the phones in various markets during the third quarter. It is preloading NFC versions of such games as Angry Birds on the phones.

One application planned for the new Nokia phones and others in Taiwan is an NFC taxi dispatch service, which will involve Nokia, taxi company Taiwan Taxi, along with Taiwan Mobile. Tags would be deployed in Taiwan Mobile and Nokia stores and also locations connected with the taxi service. 

When a user taps a tag, the phone would send an SMS request to Taiwan Taxi, with the user's phone number and location of the tag. The system would then search for an available car near the tag location. The taxi company would reply to the user with an SMS giving the taxi car number and estimated time of arrival. It's unclear how widely the parties will roll out the tags.



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