LG Electronics to Introduce NFC Feature Phone

LG Electronics is readying the release of a 2G feature phone supporting Near Field Communication, which might be the handset maker’s first commercial NFC model.

LG announced the T530 touch screen phone and two sister handsets not supporting NFC with little fanfare or notice just before Mobile World Congress last February. Last month, the phone underwent RF testing to comply with U.S. Federal Communications  Commission regulations.

But the T530, which runs Java-based software, is not necessarily destined for sale in the U.S. market. The phone is expected to be targeted at Europe and perhaps Asia.

Mobile operator France Telecom-Orange in France told NFC Times it was expecting a Java-based LG feature phone supporting NFC in July. This is likely the T530, which would mean the phone will support the single-wire protocol. That would enable secure applications, such as payment and ticketing, to be stored on SIM cards that mobile operators issue.

The LG T530 is similar to the Samsung S5230, which has been used in a number of trials the past year. Both are small touch-screen GSM feature phones. Neither supports 3G, but with low prices, they have appeal for the youth market. The non-NFC version of the Samsung S5230 has been a popular seller in Europe.

Samsung is expected to come out with a new version of the S5230 in mid-2011 supporting NFC, though not apparently 3G.

South Korea-based LG is also said to be working on one or more Android smartphone models that would support NFC, but it’s unclear when they will become available. Orange in France also said it expected one of the LG Android NFC phones this year. LG in past years has produced at least one NFC phone for trials, the LG L600v.

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