No Word on NFC from Nokia with Pair of New Symbian Phones

While Nokia last month finally turned on the NFC features of its first Symbian NFC phone, the C7, the handset maker apparently is not planning to enable all of its remaining Symbian smartphones with NFC.

Specifications released with the recently announced Nokia E6 and X7 smartphones make no mention of NFC, calling into question an earlier pledge by Nokia to release all new Symbian smartphones starting this year with NFC.

That pledge, however, was made last June by Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s former smartphone guru, who abruptly resigned as executive vice president for mobile solutions just before the Nokia World conference in September. He had been passed over when Nokia appointed former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop as its CEO.

Elop snubbed the Symbian platform when he and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced last February that Nokia would adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system as its primary smartphone platform, condemning Symbian to a slow death.

The Finnish handset maker pledged to continue to make Symbian smartphones in 2011 and 2012 and has said it plans to ship 150 million more Symbian phones above its existing installed base of 200 million Symbian devices.

Whether it hits that 150-million Symbian goal remains to be seen. But Nokia, which has affirmed its commitment to NFC, likely will support NFC with some Symbian phones.

In addition, the handset maker is expected to incorporate NFC in forthcoming Windows Phone devices. Microsoft is actively working on NFC for the platform. The first Nokia Windows Phone model could be introduced before the end of 2011, though it’s not certain to support NFC.

NXP Semiconductors, which supplies NFC chips to Nokia, projected in December a market of 70 million NFC chips this year, from all suppliers. CEO Richard Clemmer confirmed the projection in February. Whether that remains the case without the most recently announced Symbian phones supporting NFC is unclear.

The C7 shipped to U.S. mobile carrier T-Mobile USA for a launch earlier this month under the Astound name, with the NFC chip enabled. Nokia had started shipping the phone in other markets last fall with the NFC chip inside, though without the NFC functionality turned on. Nokia is expected to disclose details of the availability of the NFC-enabled C7 outside of the United States soon. 

The Nokia E6, a business smartphone; and the Nokia X7, focused on entertainment, both support an updated version of the Symbian^3 operating system, called Anna. They are expected to ship during this quarter.

HEADLINE NEWS

Networks: Contactless Transactions Soar as Pandemic Takes Toll on Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In announcing their respective quarterly results this week, both Visa and Mastercard, as expected, discussed the major disruption that Covid-19 is wreaking on the payments business. But they also noted that there is one unexpected victim of the pandemic: cash.

Prompted by Pandemic Fears, Last of Australia’s Big Four Banks Ends Apple Pay Holdout

May 12 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Citing the increased demand for cashless payments because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Westpac today became the last of Australia’s big four banks to adopt Apple Pay, ending a four-year holdout that had lasted months, even years longer than its major rivals.

Insight: MaaS Backers Believe New Mobility Platforms Could Help Transit Providers Win Back Their Customers’ Trust

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With Covid-19 lockdowns causing mass transit ridership in many cities to virtually fall off a cliff–with such cities as London, New York and San Francisco reporting drops of more than 90%–transport providers worry that some riders may not come back, even after the pandemic ends.

In-Depth: Government Regulation of Mobility-as-a-Service Seen as Necessary to Encourage Widespread Adoption

Apr 16 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Government legislation will likely be needed for widespread adoption of Mobility-as-a-Service, or MaaS, to occur, according to UK-based Juniper Research, which believes that the regulations will be necessary to force MaaS providers, including transit service providers, to work together, as well as to persuade users to get out of their cars to cut carbon emissions.

Apple Pay Expands Support for Interoperable Closed-Loop Transit Cards in China, Though Not First NFC Pays Wallet to Do So

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple on Wednesday expanded support for closed-loop transit payments across China, incorporating China’s T-Union interoperable transit cards in its Apple Pay service.

Insight: Virus Adds Urgency to Increasing Contactless Limits but Won’t Necessarily Drive Growth in Acceptance

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While the Covid-19 virus outbreak is building awareness for contactless and NFC payments and is accelerating the increase in already low contactless transaction limits in Europe, it remains to be seen how much it will convince more merchants to accept contactless in the U.S.

Exclusive: After 10 Months, Sales of Public Transit Tickets in Uber App Still Make Up Small Share of Mobile Ticketing in Denver

Mar 24 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Since last May, when ride-hailing service Uber officially began enabling customers to book and pay for public transit tickets in Denver directly in the Uber app, use of the service remains relatively low, accounting for less than 3% of all mobile tickets purchased by customers of Denver public transit agency RTD, NFC Times has learned.

Former Garmin Pay Technology Providers Sue Device Maker Claiming Unpaid Millions, Though Offer Scant Proof of Claims

NFC TIMES Exclusive –  The founders of former payments wearables provisioning company Fit Pay, which was acquired last September for $3.3 million by smartwatch and fitness band maker Garmin, have sued the device maker and two other parties, claiming they are owed millions in missed earn-out payments.

Helsinki to Roll Out Multimodal Contactless EMV Fare Payments, with Plans for Daily and Weekly Fare Capping

Mar 12 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority plans to accept contactless EMV payments on its multimodal system, including its buses, metro, trams and ferries. The rollout, expected to be completed in 2023, will also support daily and weekly fare capping.  

Transport for London’s Lucrative Sponsorship Deal with Google Shows Value of ‘Point of Sale’ Real Estate at Fare Gates

NFC TIMES Exclusive insight – Transport for London’s recent deal with Google to put the Google Pay Logo on more than 5,600 contactless gate readers across the large London Underground network is not the first time that the London transit authority has rented out its prime payments real estate to sponsors. Nor is it the only transit agency that has profited from sponsorship deals tied to its contactless EMV transit payments services. 

Amazon Launches Largest Checkout-Free Store; Clerks and POS Terminal Vendors Need Not Worry…Yet

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Ecommerce giant Amazon expanded its no-checkout concept to its first “full-sized” supermarket Tuesday, in its headquarters city of Seattle, enabling shoppers to scan an app upon entering, pull products off of shelves and “just walk out,” with hundreds of cameras and numerous sensors having recorded everywhere the shoppers went in the store and everything they put into their shopping carts. A card on file in the app is charged as the customers leave.

Czech Banks See Growing Use of NFC Wallets with Smartphones and Wearables for Contactless Payments

Feb 18 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Banks in the Czech Republic say they are seeing significant and growing use of NFC-enabled smartphones and wearables, ranging from 6% to nearly 25% of all contactless payments–three banks told NFC Times–although a large majority of consumers continue to tap their contactless cards, not NFC devices, for in-store payments.