Nokia took the wraps off of the Nokia 603 on Thursday, a Symbian Belle-powered smartphone that will target first-time smartphone users. The 603 is equipped with a 3.5-inch ClearBlack display, a 1GHz processor, GPS, Wi-Fi and a 5-megapizel camera. It also comes with a near-field communications (NFC) chip for syncing with accessories or tapping another user’s phone to share contacts, photos or movies. The 603 is expected to launch during the fourth quarter of this year for €200 before taxes and su. It will be available in black and white and can be purchased with a variety of colorful battery covers. Read on for the full press release from Nokia. More →
Research In Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie took the wraps off a new NFC-based BlackBerry service during his keynote presentation at the GITEX conference in Dubai this week. Dubbed BlackBerry Tag, the new feature will allow BlackBerry users to share contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia files by tapping one handset against another. BlackBerry Tag will also allow users to add each other as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) contacts with a simple tap. ”BlackBerry Tag is an exciting and innovative feature that makes sharing contact information and multimedia content effortless and seamless,” Balsillie said in a statement. “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.” BlackBerry Tag will be enabled on NFC-equipped handsets in an upcoming BlackBerry 7 OS update. RIM’s full press release follows below. More →
Broadcom on Monday announced the BCM2079x family of NFC chips which it hopes will spur the mass adoption of NFC. The 40nm-based chips are smaller and are reportedly the most power efficient solution currently available to device makers. Broadcom said the products use 40% fewer components on a 40% smaller surface area and consume 90% less power than competing models. The chips also support a new technology called “Maestro middleware” that allows developers to create NFC apps with support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. “Broadcom is committed to making NFC as ubiquitous as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are today,” Broadcom vice president and general manager Craig Ochikubo said. “These solutions provide the features and performance that enable disruptive innovation that will reshape consumer experience.” Read on for Broadcom’s full press release. More →
Google Wallet, a new near-field communications (NFC) based payment system created by Google in partnership with MasterCard and a number of additional partners, is now available on Sprint’s Nexus S 4G. Google Nexus S users on AT&T and T-Mobile are left out in the cold for now. MasterCard confirmed that an over-the-air update is being pushed to the Nexus S 4G on Monday that will automatically install the Google Wallet app. Once it is installed, users can enter in their MasterCard information and use their Nexus S 4G to make tap-and-go payments at 300,000 PayPass locations around the world. Initial users will receive a $10 bonus on their Google Prepaid MasterCard accounts for being an early adopter, too. Google also announced on Monday that Visa, Discover and American Express have provided their NFC specifications so that those payment options can be added to Google Wallet in the future. Read on for a quick video of Google Wallet in action. More →
Just days ahead of the IFA trade show in Berlin, Samsung officially unveiled three new bada 2.0-powered handsets: the Wave 3, Wave M and Wave Y. We first heard wind of the Wave 3 last week when an Android user spotted it inside of Samsung’s Mobile Unpacked APK and now we have the full details. The Wave 3 is the high-end smartphone of the bunch and comes equipped with a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 5-megapixel camera, a 1.4GHz processor and HSPA connectivity all in a 9mm thin brush-aluminum shell. The Wave M is the first device to hit the market with Samsung’s new ChatON messaging software pre-installed. It offers a 3.65-inch display, a 5-megapixel camera, optional NFC connectivity, Wi-Fi direct, a tempered glass screen and a metallic body. The Samsung Wave Y is an entry-level bada 2.0 device and it is equipped with a a 3.2-inch HVGA display and a 2-megapixel camera. Read on for the full press release and a video detailing the new bada 2.0 operating system.
Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile have made a $100 million investment in ISIS, a joint venture created by the three carriers to fuel the growth of mobile payments. The investment has been largely viewed as an attempt to bolster ISIS’ business to better compete against Google and its own mobile payment system, Google Wallet. “Over the long haul, operators have to create new businesses that derive value from more than access,” wireless analyst Chetan Sharma told Bloomberg. “It’s a given that people are going to be transacting more over cell phones. It could open a potential new revenue stream for them.” Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T formed ISIS in November of last year and hope, by partnering, the carriers can launch a competitive nationwide mobile payment network that utilizes near-field communications. In June, American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa announced a partnership with ISIS. MasterCard has also teamed up with Google and Sprint on Google Wallet. ISIS is currently being tested in Salt Lake City and Austin, and while the joint venture plans to bring those networks live in mid-2012, ISIS has not yet announced a national rollout plan. More →
The IFA trade show in Berlin kicks off on September 1st and Samsung has already made it known that it will have a big presence there. We’ve heard that it will announce the Samsung GALAXY Tab 7.7, the Wave 3, and the GALAXY Note but now Sammyhub suggests there could be more in store. Samsung could be preparing to take the wraps off of an upgraded GALAXY S II smartphone that could be the world’s first 4G LTE/WCDMA/GSM handset. The phone may also sport a faster 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera, a 1,850 mAh battery and a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display. The rumor of NFC support definitely has us wondering if this will launch in the United States as the Android Ice Cream Sandwich-packing Nexus Prime, which is rumored to hit Verizon as a 4G LTE phone. More →
Nokia announced three new Symbian Belle-powered phones on Wednesday: the Nokia 700, Nokia 701 and Nokia 600. The Nokia 700 is the smallest of the bunch and includes a 1GHz processor, a 3.2-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, 2GB of storage, a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording HD video and support for near-field communications (NFC). The 701 mimics the C7′s industrial design and has the “brightest ever” mobile display, a 1GHz processor, an 8-megapixel camera capable of shooting HD video, a 2-megapixel forward-facing camera for video chats and 8GB of internal storage. The Nokia 600 has a music focus and sports an FM antenna, a loud speaker, a 1GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera capable of HD video capture, 2GB of internal storage and support for NFC-initiated pairing with Bluetooth accessories. Nokia says the 600 should offer about 60 hours of music playback on a single charge. Nokia vice president Ilari Nurmi confirmed these will “not be the last Symbian” devices the company launches. Read on for the full press release. More →
Another BlackBerry out of RIM? We might as well consider them done and finished. Or should we? With a brand new take on BlackBerry hardware and an improved and enhanced operating system in BlackBerry 7, RIM hasn’t been sitting still. I have been using a BlackBerry 9900 for over a week, and as a reformed BlackBerry addict, I have some thoughts on this latest flagship smartphone out of Waterloo. Is this the device that’s going to save RIM? Is this the phone that’s going to make iPhone and Android users switch to a BlackBerry? Can RIM finally compete in the smartphone arena? Will it take RIM 9 months to make a BlackBerry 9900 in white? Is Will.i.am going to haunt me for eternity? Hit the break to find out. (And I sure as heck hope not on those last two.)
Visa is accelerating its efforts to dominate the mobile payment space, Reuters reported on Monday. Visa is no stranger to mobile payments. It began trialing an iPhone NFC payment solution in Europe early this year, has plans to work with Samsung on a system for the 2012 Olympics, and recently announced that it has partnered with ISIS for the development of a mobile payment network in the United States. “As mobile payments and other chip-based emerging technologies are poised to take off in the coming years, we are taking steps today to create a commercial framework that will support growth opportunities,” Visa’s global head of product Jim McCarty told Reuters. More →
141.1 million people around the world will make mobile payments this year, a 38.2% increase from last year, Gartner said in a new report issued on Friday. Global mobile payment volume is expected to hit $86.1 billion in 2011, up 75.9% from the $48.9 billion recorded last year. Gartner says mobile payments are not growing as fast as originally projected due to slower than expected uptake in developing countries. In addition, the “complexity of the [NFC]” service model has impeded its ability to takeoff in developed countries. “The biggest hurdle is the need to change user behavior by convincing consumers to pay with mobile phones instead of cash and cards,” Gartner research director Sandy Shen said, noting that mass market adoption of near-field communications (NFC) is at least four years away. Mobile payments will be driven by prepaid top-ups and money transfers, the research firm said. “Thanks to the success of mobile application stores, such as Apple’s App Store, and the efforts in driving mobile sales by major retailers, such as Amazon and eBay, merchandise purchases far outweigh other use cases in developed markets, which include North America and Western Europe,” Shen said. “We predict that in 2011, merchandise purchases will account for 90 percent and 77 percent of all transactions in North America and Western Europe, respectively.” Read on for the full press release. More →
LG has struggled to grab consumer interest the way Samsung has with its Galaxy S and Galaxy S II smartphones, and it doesn’t look like the manufacturer has a worthy competitor in the pipeline just yet. PocketNow purportedly leaked LG’s entire 2011 portfolio and while there are several attractive devices that run Android and Windows Phone, there is nothing that really blows us away. The lineup includes the following devices:
- LG Prada K2 - An Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) smartphone with a 4.3-inch NOVA display, 16GB of storage, and support for 21Mbps+ networks.
- LG Univa – An Android 2.3 device that is equipped with an 800MHz processor and a 3.5-inch HVGA display.
- LG Fantasy - A Windows Phone Mango-powered device that could make its debut in the fourth quarter of this year. Renders of the phone suggest that it will offer a large display, but other hardware specs are currently not available.
- LG Victor – A mid-range Android Gingerbread device with a 3.8-inch OLED WVGA display, a 5-megapixel camera and a 1GHz processor.
- LG Gelato - A device that may land on Sprint with the model number LS685, a version of the Gelato will reportedly offers support for near-field communications (NFC). It’s equipped with a 3.2-inch HVGA display, a 3-megapixel camera and an 800MHz processor.
PocketNow also revealed two more devices, the LG K and the E2, but little is currently known about them. We’re assuming that LG also has some more high-end handsets up its sleeves that it’s currently keeping closer to the vest — after all, the LG Thrill 4G (Optimus 3D), offers a high-end dual-core processor. Why would the manufacturer take a step backwards and just release a half-dozen mid-range handsets?
MasterCard announced earlier this week that it would partner with with ISIS to help foster the growth of NFC-based mobile payment solutions in the U.S. ISIS, formed in November last year by Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, intends to deliver a complete mobile wallet solution that ambitiously aims to replace cash, credit cards, debit cards, coupons and more with one comprehensive mobile solution. So we know about ISIS and now we know MasterCard is on board, but MasterCard is hardly a newcomer in the contactless payments space. BGR recently had a chat with MasterCard’s Senior Vice President of Mobile, James Anderson, to discuss the past, present and future of mobile payments here in the U.S. Of course NFC-based contactless payment solutions are at the forefront of discussions surrounding the mobile payment space right now, and who better to discuss NFC with than the man recently named Vice Chairman of the NFC Forum? Our full Q&A with Anderson can be found below.
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