After years of waiting from BlackBerry users, the ultimate BlackBerry has finally been made official. We broke the story on the next generation BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, and we even spent some one-on-one time with it, but there is nothing like an official announcement, right? As far as specs, it’s everything we reported it would be — 1.2GHz processor, 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, full QWERTY keyboard, 5 megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording, 8GB of onboard storage, and more. As far as availability, RIM said that the new BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 will be available from “carriers around the world” starting this summer. We’re hearing June / July still. Entire press release is after the break. More →
According to a report filed by Bloomberg, online retail giant Amazon is toying with the idea of launching a mobile payments service. Citing two anonymous sources, the publication notes that the service would “let consumers pay for goods in brick-and-mortar stores using their mobile phones.” Amazon is purportedly testing payment technologies based on NFC (Near Field Communications) in an effort to expand its Payments service. This is the company’s latest venture into the mobile world. Amazon officially opened its Appstore for Android on March 22nd and its Cloud Drive music storage/streaming service on March 29th. The company has not made any public statements about future plans involving mobile payments or NFC. More →
On Thursday Samsung and Visa announced a new partnership under which the two firms will provide an NFC mobile payment solution before, during, and after the London 2012 Olympics. The two companies will release an Olympics and Paralympics Games mobile handset in London that’s equipped with mobile NFC technology, Visa’s payment application, and a special SIM card. Here’s how it will work: When you’re ready to make a purchase, you’ll just have to open the Visa application on your phone and then hold it in front of a special contactless reader. There are over 60,000 contactless readers already in London, and Visa says it’s continuing to work with banks and retailers to increase its NFC foundation. The NFC-enabled phone, with its Visa SIM card, will first be available to Samsung and Visa sponsored athletes, and it will also be available to consumers through mobile operators. It’s unclear what the phone model is, or how much it will cost. “This mobile payment device will be available in the UK initially, and we plan to expand the service to other countries in Europe and around the world where contactless payment facilities are available in the near future,” said Seokpil Kim, President & CEO of Samsung Electronics Europe. Visa is currently rolling out its NFC mobile payment program in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Brazil, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the United States. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
The ability to use your phone for NFC mobile payments across borders just became a reality. Gemalto announced that it has developed the first UICC-embedded software application that is approved by Mastercard’s mobile payment specification for NFC. Gemalto’s software provides a number of features, including the Trusted Service Management interface for PayPass payments, and the ability to manage and view your mobile transaction history. Your SIM, and ultimately your phone, can be linked to debit, credit, and prepaid accounts — users can even top up their prepaid cards using Gemalto’s software. You’ll also be able to set your account PIN directly from your phone. When we interviewed MasterCard’s vice president of mobile, James Anderson, last week, he said that the key to NFC was that it has to work wherever you are — whether you’re at home or away on vacation. That’s now possible. “Leveraging the interoperability of MasterCard PayPass, Gemalto’s effort will enable cross-border mobile NFC payment, adding ease to the fast-paced lifestyles of more and more consumers across the world,” Anderson said. It’s unclear when Gemalto’s solution will land in the hands of consumers, but the company says it is already working with a first-tier financial institution and a major global carrier for a UK roll-out. Hit the jump for the full release More →
According to Bloomberg, Microsoft is working on a Windows Phone update that will bring mobile payments to its fledgling smartphone operating system. Citing two anonymous sources, the publications writes that the company “plans to include mobile-payment technology in new versions of its operating system for smartphones as part of an effort to narrow Google Inc.’s lead in handset software,” and “the first devices boasting these features may be released this year.” The report suggests that the company’s mobile payments solution will be based on NFC (Near Field Communications) technology, meaning that new phones with NFC hardware would also have to be released. The world’s largest phone manufacturer, Nokia, has committed to Microsoft’s smartphone operating system for future devices. The Finnish company has been experimenting with, and using, NFC in its phones for many years, which can’t hurt Microsoft’s chances of success. More →
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google, MasterCard, and Citigroup are collaborating to bring mobile payments, via NFC, to Android smartphones. Citing anonymous sources, the publication writes that the new service would “allow holders of Citigroup-issued debit and credit cards to pay for purchases by activating a mobile-payment application developed for one current model and many coming models of Android phones.” The report also notes that users of the mobile payment service will be delivered “targeted ads or discount offers” — which will be sold by Google. Ed McLaughlin, Chief Emerging Payments Officer at MasterCard, provided BGR with the following statement:
We are aware of the speculation that appeared in the Wall Street Journal today concerning our role within mobile payments with Citi and Google. However, we do not comment on market rumor or speculation. What we can tell you is that we are pleased to see great interest in NFC technology – it is a very high priority at MasterCard – and we think that 2011 will be the year of mobile payments.
It is assumed that both MasterCard and Citigroup will profit from the venture by dividing the fees assessed to retailers for accepting credit payments. Google will generate revenue from the sale of the aforementioned, targeted adverts and coupons. The purported system is expected to be released sometime “this year.” More →
The mobile payment revolution is coming. Within the next five years, there is a very good chance you will be paying for goods and services with your cell phone. The topic has gotten quite a bit of coverage as of late, of course, with several top manufacturers and banks talking up eWallet services. Google has included NFC support in its Nexus S smartphone and, more importantly, in Android 2.3; Research In Motion has committed to including the technology in its future smartphones; Samsung has included NFC in its wildly popular next-generation Galaxy S handset; and U.S. carriers are beginning to forge alliances to implement mobile payment systems. But Google, RIM, and mobile providers are all newcomers to the payment processing game — how do the traditional creditors feel about this revolution? BGR had a chance to sit down with MasterCard’s vice president of mobile solutions, James Anderson, and talk about what’s next for both creditors and consumers following what could shape up to be the death of plastic. More →
Leaving your credit card at the bar may soon be a thing of the past — that is, if you live in San Francisco or New York City. Bloomberg is reporting that Google is planning to trial its new Near Field Communications (NFC) mobile-payment system in both cities. The trial, which could begin in as little as four months, would allow users to make purchases using their smartphones at participating retailers. Presumably, Google will run the trial with the NFC-equipped Nexus S, and it is working with VeriFone to outfit merchants with special cash registers. It’s unclear who will be able to participate in the trial, or which merchants are on board. More →
In an attempt to combat what it is referring to as “merchant resistance,” payment solutions company Verifone has taken an unprecedented step with NFC (Near Field Communications) technology. The company will begin to include NFC in all new POS (point-of-sale) systems deployed to merchants. “The retail point of sale represents a point of convergence for smartphone-initiated payments, social networking and electronic couponing, but it won’t happen if retailers are expected, on faith, to absorb the costs of making it work,” said the Verifone’s CEO, Douglas G Bergeron. “We find ourselves at the epicenter of the mobile payments revolution and the key enabler of the integration of new payment methods with the world’s existing payment infrastructure.” Mr. Bergeron does caution that the mere presence of NFC in POS systems does not make a retailer ready to accept touch-less payment, rather it takes “deep software richness at the point-of-sale to interact with the smartphone and manage a services-based model.” The move is sure to have a positive affect on the future adoption rate of NFC, and we applaud Verifone for taking this giant step. More →
With near field communication technology shaping up to be the number one new feature on handsets and mobile devices starting next year, a Japanese carrier is already planning on releasing limited NFC functionality to the iPhone 4. Softbank is set to debut a NFC sticker or “seal” which will cover almost the entire rear of the device without preventing the use of Apple’s Bumper cases. While the NFC sticker doesn’t appear to interact with the iPhone in any way, it will reportedly allow iPhone 4 users in Japan to interact with some of the most common mobile payment solutions. The NFC sticker is made of polyurethane, is 0.5 ounces in weight, and should be available for $36 starting in February from Softbank in Japan.
Today, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless officially took the wraps off of their rumored mobile payment service. Dubbed ISIS, the new “mobile commerce network” aims to use NFC (near-field communication) technology to make mobile phones the preferred method of payment for consumer point-of-sales transactions.
“While payments are at the core of the offering, it is only the start,” reads the press release. “Isis intends to deliver a complete mobile wallet experience that goes well beyond ‘credit card on a phone’ and makes the shopping experience significantly easier by eliminating the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes.”
The tri-network venture has a customer-base of over 200 million and expects to launch in “key geographic markets” in the next 18 months. ISIS will provide the associated wireless carriers with another revenue stream to help bolster their oh-so-important bottom lines. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
A new report from Cult of Mac suggests that Apple may have some nifty new features in store for the upcoming iPhone 5. Rumors that the iPhone 5 will utilize NFC are nothing new at this point, but this morning’s claims cover a very unique feature for the underutilized technology. The report suggests that the iPhone 5 will include a new portable computing function, allowing users to store data and settings from Mac computers on their iPhones. When a handset is waved near any other compatible NFC-equipped Mac computer, the user’s “applications, settings and data” will become available on the computer. “It will be as though they are sitting at their own machine at home or work,” the report states. In short, the feature would provide a new type of remote computing that could eliminate the need for virtual network computing (VNC) or similar technologies. This new feature is anything but confirmed for the time being, but it certainly would be a welcome addition for Mac users. What’s more, it might help give customers with aging Mac computers an extra push to upgrade to newer NFC-enabled machines. More →
Nokia has just announced its newest handset to support one of our favorite still-emerging technologies, Near Field Communications (NFC). Dubbed the 6216 classic, Nokia’s third NFC-enabled phone does throw a bit of a curveball in that it is Nokia’s first to allow operators to build NFC services into the SIM card. NFC technology allows devices to transfer data between each other merely by tapping them together. Image files, video files, contacts, music and more can all be delivered wirelessly using NFC technology but the key functionality being eyed by the industry is NFC-facilitated secure payments. The 6216 classic is certainly a step forward in this realm, as Nokia’s head of near field communications Jeremy Belostock tells us:
The Nokia 6216 classic will be amongst the first commercial devices in the market complying with operator requirements using the SIM card in connection to secure transactions with Near Field Communications. With the Nokia 6216 classic in your pocket and the ticketing applications on the SIM you can replace the multitude of cards in your wallet. Having the applications on the SIM consumers can bring their secure applications to their next Nokia NFC enabled phone.
Beyond NFC, you’re looking at a pretty basic S40 handset: Quad-band GSM, dual-band 3G (850/2100 MHz), 2-inch QVGA display, 2 megapixel camera, microSDHC support, Bluetooth and 22MB of user-accessible memory pretty much say it all. The 6216 classic is slated to begin shipping in the third quarter and will retail for €150 ($196) before subsidies but don’t expect to see it stateside any time soon.