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

USA Technologies Seeks to Bolster Services, Markets with Acquisition of Cantaloupe Systems

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Unattended point-of-sale vendor USA Technologies expects to close its $85 million deal to acquire competitor Cantaloupe Systems next week, telling NFC Times the deal will add to USAT’s suite of services and expand its international reach.

Orange Cash Gets New Life as Part of Orange Bank App

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As expected, Orange will continue offering its NFC-enabled Orange Cash Visa-branded card with the launch of its Orange Bank mobile service.

First HCE-Enabled JCB Cards to Hit Market in Taiwan in First Quarter

Nov 14 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japanese credit card company JCB will participate early next year in a mobile wallet from the Taiwan Mobile Payment banking joint venture, marking the first time JCB will support host card emulation in a mobile payments service.

Canadians Take to Contactless Cards, but NFC Wallets? Not So Much

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While a well-developed contactless card and POS terminal infrastructure and strong consumer take-up of contactless card payments has often been touted as the gateway to use of mobile payments, that is often not the case. Take Canada, for instance.

New York Approves Delayed Contract for Contactless Fare Collection, Clearing Way for Rides with NFC Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority board has approved a long-anticipated contract to enable riders to pay with contactless credit and debit cards, including cards loaded into NFC mobile wallets, by 2019–the largest transit authority to do so since Transport for London launched open-loop fare collection in late 2012.

Fitbit Chief Plans to Enable Entire Product Line for Payments with NFC; Challenges Lie Ahead

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – LAS VEGAS:  Fitbit CEO James Park today said the large wearables maker plans to enable contactless payments across its entire range of devices over the next few years using NFC technology, a move he said he hopes will help make contactless payments “ubiquitous around the world.”

Major League Baseball to Roll Out Availability of NFC Ticketing in 2018, but Will Stadiums Adopt the Technology?

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Major League Baseball in the U.S. may roll out NFC mobile ticketing next year as part of Apple Pay, although it’s unclear how many stadiums or other venues would be involved, sources told NFC Times.

Apple Promotes ‘Everyday’ Commerce for Apple Pay as It Seeks to Increase Transactions

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – LAS VEGAS:  As Apple continues to try to address what many observers consider to be a disappointing showing for its now three-year-old payments service, Apple Pay chief Jennifer Bailey played up the theme “Everyday (commerce) With Apple Pay,” during a keynote at the Money 20/20 fintech show Sunday.

Group Representing Big U.S. Banks Plans to Issue Own Tokens for Cards Carrying Major Brands

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Clearing House, a group of the largest banks in the U.S., announced its first plans to tokenize cards branded by a major network, as the banks seek to reduce their dependence on tokenization by the major card schemes.

Apple Watch Likely to Lag Behind in Tag-Reading Ecosystem

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As the NFC tag industry responds to iOS 11, Apple Watch isn’t drawing much focus, and use cases for tag-reading on the wearable remain limited.

Mobile Payments Contribute to Slow Decline of Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Mobile payments are one of the key factors driving the gradual replacement of cash with card and digital payments, according to the annual World Payments Report released this week by consulting and IT services firm Capgemini and major French bank BNP Paribas.

Apple Pay Finally Signs Up Second Major Bank in New Zealand

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In certain markets, Apple continues to face resistance from major banks, which, among other things, do not want to participate in an Apple-branded wallet. That’s true in Australia and in such major Western European markets as France, Spain and Italy, where only one major bank in each country is supporting Apple Pay.