Samsung Announces First Windows Phone 8 Device, NFC-Enabled Ativ S
Samsung Electronics announced the world’s first Windows Phone 8 smartphone, the Ativ S, which supports NFC.
The announcement comes a week before the expected launch of the first Windows Phone 8 from Nokia, as part of its Lumia series, which is also expected to support NFC.
Samsung’s announcement of the first Windows Phone 8 device was a surprise to many. Samsung introduced the device today at the IFA trade show in Berlin, at which it also unveiled an Ativ tablet, running Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system; and the Android-based Galaxy Note II, the follow-up to its popular Galaxy Note smartphone-tablet hybrid. Both the Ativ Tab and Galaxy Note II also support NFC. The Windows devices are expected to be available around October.
There was no word on secure element support for the new Samsung devices, though Microsoft, in unveiling its NFC-enabled mobile wallet for Windows Phone 8 in June, said the operating system would support payment applications on SIM cards.
Samsung is believed to be putting embedded secure elements in all or most of its NFC-enabled Android devices, so the Galaxy Note II probably will be able to support secure applications on both SIM cards complying with the single-wire protocol standard and embedded chips.
The new Windows devices, like the Android-based Note, also are expected to support peer-to-peer communication for pairing devices and sharing videos and other large content.
With the launch of the Ativ S and Nokia's planned Lumia phones, Windows Phone 8 appears likely to become the second major mobile platform supporting NFC after Android. Research in Motion also supports NFC with its BlackBerry operating system and devices, though its market share has been falling sharply. And Apple is unlikely to support NFC in its next iPhone.
Besides the mobile wallet, which is also designed to hold coupons, boarding passes and other mobile cards and documents, Microsoft has said Windows Phone users will be able to share photos, Office documents and contact information by tapping their Windows smartphones on other devices, such as tablets and notebook computers that will support Windows 8.
But while the NFC support is native to both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, Samsung didn’t reveal any of the NFC functionality it plans to offer in either of the Windows devices.
New NFC-Enabled Android Phones from Sony
Meanwhile, Sony introduced two new NFC-enabled smartphones for its Xperia series at the IFA show, the Xperia V and its new flagship, the Xperia T.
Sony is hoping the phones and a third, non-NFC, Android phone, the Xperia J, which it also introduced today, will help it compete with Samsung and Apple, the two dominant players in the smartphone world.
Sony played up the NFC features of the phones in its promotional material, noting that it is “putting NFC at the heart of content sharing through its 'One-touch' function, taking NFC beyond the traditional uses such as e-ticketing and payments.
“Now, consumers can easily and instantaneously enjoy their music and photos across an array of NFC enabled Sony devices, by simply touching one to another to establish a wireless connection without a cumbersome pairing process.”
Sony said users could share content between phones or could stream music wirelessly with its SRS-BTV5 NFC-enabled speaker, which it also announced today at IFA.
Both Xperia phones support Android 4.04, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich, and will be upgraded to Android 4.1, called Jelly Bean. These versions of Android support Google’s Android Beam enhanced P2P technology using NFC.
Sony has already introduced such other NFC-enabled phones as the Xperia S, Xperia P and Xperia sola.
The high-end Xperia T sports a 4.6-inch screen and 1.5GHz dual-core processor.
Samsung’s Windows Phone 8 smartphone also has a large, 4.8-inch, screen and 1.5GHz dual-core processor.
The Galaxy Note II has a quad-core 1.6GHz processor and a 5.5-inch screen, larger than the 5.3-inch screen on the first Galaxy Note.