Samsung Introduces Two Lower-End Android Phones with Optional NFC
Samsung today announced two new Android phones for its Galaxy line that support NFC as an option.
The Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy mini 2 are sequels to their low-cost Android predecessors, the Ace and mini, which Samsung Electronics introduced last year.
The new phones, announced in the run-up to the Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona, will run Android 2.3, known as Gingerbread, the first version of Android to support NFC. Samsung lists NFC as an optional feature for both of the models, which means mobile operators would have to order the phones with NFC chips inside, and presumably pay extra for the technology.
The giant phone maker had the same approach to NFC when it introduced its flagship Galaxy S II last year in the run-up to the Mobile World Congress 2011. Samsung does not generally include NFC as a default feature in its devices and relies on orders from operators or others, such as Google, before shipping devices supporting the technology.
Samsung said it is introducing the Galaxy Ace 2 first in the United Kingdom in April, and the mini 2 in France in March, before rolling out the handsets globally.
Operators in both countries, which have active NFC programs in place, are expected to eventually order the phones with NFC chips supporting the single-wire protocol. This would enable the telcos to use their SIM cards to host payment and other secure applications. But the operators, such as Orange France and Orange UK, might not order the phones with NFC inside when Samsung first releases the models, since the handsets would have to go through additional testing and tweaks before being able to support NFC services.
The Ace 2 sports an 800-MHz dual-core, 3.8-inch touch screen and 3.5G network speeds. The mini 2 has an 800-MHz processor, 3.27-inch touch screen and somewhat slower 3.5G speeds.
Additional announcements of NFC-enabled or NFC-ready handsets are expected for the Mobile World Congress. Chinese handset maker ZTE yesterday was among the first to announce new models, including a higher-end NFC-enabled Android phone, the LTE PF200.