RIM Promotes P2P Applications for its NFC-enabled BlackBerrys

Research in Motion is promoting peer-to-peer applications in its NFC phones, announcing today a BlackBerry Tag feature that will be included in an update to its BlackBerry 7 operating system.

The update announced today will enable users to tap NFC-enabled BlackBerrys together to share contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other content. And users will be able to tap their phones to add one another as contacts for RIM’s instant messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger.

The BlackBerry Tag feature will be available on RIM’s first NFC phones, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 and BlackBerry Curve 9350, 9360 and 9370, which have been released. These phones have an NFC chip inside but would need the update to the operating system to enable the special P2P feature.

RIM also said it plans to make application-programming interfaces available for app developers to use to “take advantage of ‘tap to share’ functionality from within their own applications.”

“BlackBerry Tag opens a new dimension to the BlackBerry platform that is powerful, simple and intuitive, and we think it will be welcomed by both users and developers,” said RIM’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie in a statement. Balsillie earlier today announced the P2P feature during a keynote speech at the Gitex conference in Dubai.

The announcement seems to make clear that the P2P exchanges of documents, URLs and photos, among other content using BlackBerry Tag, is only intended for BlackBerry users, not users of NFC phones supporting Android, Symbian or other platforms, at least not at first.

The BlackBerry NFC handsets have standard NFC chips, so it’s unclear whether developers would be able to adapt NFC phones using other operating systems to communicate in P2P mode with the BlackBerrys.

The NFC Forum only recently published a new standard NFC data exchange format for P2P communication, which will make it easier for developers to design P2P applications that work across platforms. But developers are able to bridge the gap now and enable NFC phones sporting different operating systems to talk to one another. Of course, if RIM built extra proprietary security into its BlackBerry Tag P2P software, developers wouldn't be able to construct cross-platform P2P apps. A RIM spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

It's also not clear whether RIM is talking about device pairing when it says BlackBerry Tag can enable users to transfer photos in P2P mode. Transmitting photos of any size would be time-consuming if sent strictly over the NFC interface. But using P2P mode, two NFC devices also could quickly open a Bluetooth or WiFi connection, which have much broader bandwidth than NFC.

RIM also has embedded secure chips in its NFC phones. In addition, the same phones are believed to support the single-wire protocol, enabling secure applications to be stored on SIM cards. RIM has not yet stated its plans for the embedded chips, but among them is likely to be enabling enterprises to store their corporate badges and other access-control and ID applications on the chips.

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.