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

Mastercard Backs Open-Loop Transit Payments in Taiwan’s No. 2 City

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second-largest city, plans to enable riders to enter subway gates by tapping contactless EMV credit cards and NFC wallets by the end of the year, working with Mastercard.

Traditional Watchmaker Fossil Adds NFC Payments, Heart Monitor to Smartwatch Line, as It Seeks to Reverse Earnings Slump

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Struggling U.S.-based watchmaker Fossil has introduced NFC for the first time, in its Q line of smartwatches, hoping the support for Google Pay and other smartwatch applications will help the mainly traditional watchmaker to stay competitive as more consumers turn away from traditional watches.

Analysis: Apple Touts Growth, as It Releases First Global Transaction Figure for Apple Pay; but Service Continues to Face Challenges

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple released the number of global transactions for its Apple Pay service–believed to be the first time it has done so–as the tech giant touted a tripling of transactions to more than 1 billion for the latest quarter. Apple also disclosed plans by two more large U.S. retailers to accept contactless payments and announced that another major country, Germany, would support Apple Pay, later this year.

Japan’s SoftBank Group Plans Digital Payments Service; Can It Convince Consumers to Part with Their Cash?

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight –  SoftBank Group’s reported plans to launch a mobile digital payments service in Japan by year’s end–collaborating with Indian mobile payments provider Paytm–is an attempt by SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son to do what other large companies have tried and failed to do: wean Japanese consumers off of cash.

Garmin Unveils New Smartwatch Series Supporting Garmin Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based wearables maker Garmin has introduced a fourth smartwatch to its lineup of devices supporting its NFC-enabled payments service, Garmin Pay, the high-end D2 Delta watch series targeted at aviators or aviator wannabes.

Hong Kong Subway Operator and Majority Owner of Octopus Pursues QR Code-Based Transit Payments

NFC TIMES EXCLUSIVE Insight – Hong Kong’s MTR Corp., which runs the city’s subway system, next month will accept tenders from technology and payments providers for a QR code-based fare collection service that will serve as an alternative to its much-used contactless Octopus card.

Open-Loop Payments Connected with Campus ID Cards Not to be Included in Apple Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive – NFC-based student ID cards provisioned to Apple Wallet beginning this fall won’t include the open-loop debit payments that are often part of plastic student ID cards, NFC Times has learned.

Milan Launches Support for Open-Loop Transit Payments; Other Cities Move Toward Accepting EMV Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Milan is the latest city to enable collection of fares by contactless bank cards and NFC phones, with public transport company Azienda Trasporti Milanesi, or ATM, rolling out the service to more than 100 stations on its metro system. The company plans to expand the open-loop payment service to buses and other surface transport modes it manages.

Google Launches First Major Pays Wallet in Germany, but Growth Prospects Appear Dim

Jun 27 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Google Pay launched today in Germany, making Google the first of the major backers of a Pays mobile wallet to launch service in the country. Yet, prospects for Google and any of the other international Pays that decide to launch in Europe’s largest economy are not promising.

UnionPay Pushes Open-Loop Transit Payments, as It Seeks to Stay Competitive with Alipay and WeChat Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive – China’s major bank card network China UnionPay is badly losing the battle for mobile payments market share against Ant Financial and Tencent Holdings, and now the two Internet giants have turned their attention to enabling mobile transit ticketing across the country.

Taiwan’s EasyCard Gives Stark Example of Problems Some Major Transit and E-Money Payments Providers Face in Enabling Mobile Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – HANOI, Vietnam: For several years, EasyCard Corp. of Taiwan has been seeking to enable its popular transit fare collection and retail e-money service for mobile and other digital payments, but it has hit several roadblocks along the way.

Launch of Apple Pay in Japan Boosts User Numbers for Mobile Suica, but Most Transactions Still Use Cards

Jun 9 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive – HANOI, Vietnam: Since Apple Pay launched in Japan in the fall of 2016, the number of users for the Mobile Suica transit and retail payments application has grown by 50%, although the vast majority of transactions for Suica are still conducted with cards.