We’ve been hearing that smartphones will transform into mobile wallets “any year now” for at least the past five years. But with the introduction of the Google Nexus S, Google Wallet, the ISIS initiative, and a handful of smartphones with integrated NFC, it looks like the technology is finally poised to take off. According to Taiwanese phone makers, more than 50% of all smartphones will include NFC within the next 2-3 years. That comes as no surprise: Google’s latest Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system has support for NFC built-in, a number of BlackBerry smartphones offer NFC, the Galaxy S II models on AT&T and T-Mobile have some form of dorment NFC support, and the brand new Samsung Galaxy Nexus also supports the technology. The delay in adoption, DigiTimes said, can be attributed to the current ecosystem and standard specification. Read on for more. More →
Market research firm In-Stat released a report on Monday that suggests NFC chip shipments will grow dramatically during the next several years as an increasing number of mobile devices adopt near-field communications (NFC) technology. In-Stat said NFC chip shipments will surpass 1.2 billion units by 2015, the same year the technology is expected to reach a 30% global penetration. “As the costs of NFC chips decline, and NFC radios are combined with other chip functions, the cost to integrate NFC into handsets will be outweighed by the benefits,” In-Stat research director Allen Nogee said. “The growth of combo chips will also allow NFC radios to piggyback on technology that already has significant penetration in the market. For example, Bluetooth radios, which currently have 100% market penetration, can be integrated with NFC radios, making the choice to include NFC easy for OEMs.” Read on for more. More →
New Jersey Transit will soon introduce limited support for Google’s NFC-based mobile payment system, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Wednesday. Google Wallet is currently only available on one handset, Sprint’s Nexus S 4G, and supports a handful of retailers including Foot Locker, Macy’s, Jamba Juice, Walgreens and Subway. Commuters will be able to use the handset to quickly purchase tickets in a tap-and-go fashion at New York Penn Station, Newark Liberty International Airport Rail Station and several bus lines including the 120, 87, 81, 80, 43, 6 and 126. “Transit is the fastest way to accelerate adoption and reach usage density in major urban centers by habituating the behavior of tapping and paying with phones,” Google vice president of commerce Stephanie Tilenius said. More →
Google recently announced that its Google Wallet NFC mobile payment service now accepts a host of new retail locations, including American Eagle Outfitters, Foot Locker, Jamba Juice, Guess, The Container Store, Toys”R”Us and OfficeMax. Previously, the payments were only accepted in a handful of Walgreens and Subway sandwich stores in San Francisco and New York. In addition, Google says its Offers service, which provides discounts at each location, is also available in a number of the aforementioned retail outlets. Users can purchase a smoothie from Jamba Juice for $2 or take 15% off at Macy’s, for example. Unfortunately, Google Wallet is still only available to owners of Sprint’s Nexus S 4G, but we hope to hear more about Google’s NFC plans during its joint Ice Cream Sandwich press conference with Samsung in Hong Kong tonight at 10:00 p.m. EST. A video of Google Wallet in action follows below. More →
Despite the growing number of mobile payment initiatives such as ISIS and Google Wallet, only a handful of consumers actually want to use their phones as a mobile wallet. According to new research from Intersperience, just 17% of U.K. adults are interested in using their phones to purchase goods. 24% of the 1,000 participants in Intersperience’s survey were afraid of security issues, although they admittedly didn’t “know why.” 24% also thought their mobile phone is more likely to be stolen than a wallet. 44% of the survey respondents were afraid to use their phone as a mobile wallet due to the lack of security software. “There is no doubt that the phone hacking scandals have unnerved consumers,” Paul Hudson, Intersperience CEO said. “We also detected a marked rise in security concerns when people use devices with mobile internet access compared to fixed access via PCs. These beliefs will impact the pace at which UK consumers adopt mobile payment systems.” Currently, just 8% of U.K. adults use their mobile phone for payments, but that figure might increase as Google rolls out its Wallet option in the U.K. next year. Read on for the full press release from Intersperience.
UPDATE: Regarding questions surrounding mobile payments, security and more, a MasterCard spokesman let us know that Mung Ki Woo, MasterCard’s head of mobile, will be fielding questions on Twitter tomorrow to help consumers better understand the technology, security and more. More →
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 →