Nokia Announces More NFC Symbian Phones; Payment Supported in 2012

Aug 24 2011

Update: Nokia today launched three new NFC-enabled Symbian smartphones, along with yet another update to its Symbian operating system, but the handset maker told NFC Times it will not support secure elements on its Symbian NFC phones until the first half of 2012.

The new smartphones, the Nokia 700, 701 and 600, all support NFC tag reading and peer-to-peer communication. The affordable phones are scheduled to be released on the market globally during the third quarter. 

The announcement of the phones and Symbian “Belle” update follows just a week after Nokia announced the imminent release for over-the-air downloads of its previous Symbian update, Anna, which is the first Symbian version to support NFC. The Anna update potentially turns on the NFC features of millions of previously shipped C7 phones. Belle has the same NFC support as Anna.

Nokia has been at pains to keep its customers interested in its Symbian phones, as they anticipate the first Nokia handsets supporting Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. The first Windows phones supporting NFC from Nokia are expected in 2012.

Nokia is expected to support NFC in all or most of its future Symbian handsets, which it pledged to continue to introduce for the next 12 months. It’s possible they could later be updated to support SIM-based secure elements and card emulation, NFC Times has learned. But no Symbian NFC phone from Nokia will support payment or other applications on secure elements until next year, a spokeswoman told NFC Times.

“Nokia believes that open NFC has a far greater financial value over the next couple of years, e.g., pairing devices, sharing content and using the device to read tags,” the spokeswoman said. “Nokia will bring secure NFC to the Symbian platform in first half of the 2012.”

Nokia estimated earlier this year that NFC services that do not require applications to be securely stored on SIM cards, embedded chips or other secure elements will account for 68% of the value of the NFC market in 2013. Applications on secure elements would make up the remaining 32%. It did not give a projection for actual revenue.

The new smartphones, the 700, 701 and 600, do not yet support secure elements and neither does the C7. A MeeGo-based smartphone from Nokia, the N9, due out soon, also will not support the secure applications. 

But it’s possible one or more of the new phones and other Symbian devices that Nokia introduces later this year supporting NFC could be updated over the air in the first half of 2012 to support payment or ticketing applications on SIM cards. That’s provided there is a physical single-wire connection built into the phones between the NFC chip and SIM slot, complying with the single-wire protocol standard. This is likely in one or more of the new phones. The phones do not have embedded secure chips. And the C7 won’t be able to be upgraded to support secure payment or ticketing.

It the software in the phones were to be updated to support SIM-based applications, then the entry-level smartphones could extend the reach of NFC to more consumers, for example, being used for transit ticketing in Asian countries, where there is a well-developed infrastructure of contactless transit terminals. Update: Before that, Nokia is promoting NFC with such tag-reading applications as check-ins on social-networking sites, as part of a tie-in with Chinese site Jiepang. End update

The Nokia 600 will retail for €180 (US$260) before operator subsidies, said Nokia. The Nokia 700 will cost about €270 without subsidies. That’s lower than high-end smartphones and the Nokia Symbian phone prices are expected to come down.

Besides the lower-cost Nokia phones, Research in Motion yesterday introduced an entry-level NFC-enabled smartphone in its Curve series that likely supports the single-wire protocol and an embedded chip. Either one could carry payment and transit ticketing applications. And Chinese phone maker Huawei produced an affordable NFC-enabled Android phone introduced by Turkish operator Turkcell in July.

Of course, mobile operators in any market launching payment or ticketing on SIM cards would have to issue specially equipped NFC-enabled SIMs that also support the local transit application and security protocol, such as Mifare, or are certified to carry a particular payment application. End update.

The Finnish phone maker is promoting the Belle update as continuing the work of Anna to “improve and modernize the Symbian experience,” according to a post on Nokia’s official blog today. That includes such tweaks as new widgets, more customization options and new apps, along with the built-in NFC functionality. It will make Belle available to the C7 and other Symbian phones running Symbian Anna.

Anna already supports NFC, but Nokia in its press material today clearly is playing up NFC as a top selling point for the Belle update and the three new lower-end Symbian phones it announced. Nokia also announced a new NFC-enabled Bluetooth headset today, which it calls the Nokia Essence.

“NFC capabilities allow any of the three new smartphones to pair with NFC-enabled mobile accessories, such as speakers or Bluetooth headphones and headsets,” said Nokia in a statement. “(NFC) allows contacts, videos and images to be shared with other NFC-enabled devices and smartphones, as well as pairing with NFC-enabled mobile accessories.”

Nokia is continuing to push its so-called “open NFC” applications, which use NFC’s tag-reading and P2P modes. In its announcement today, Nokia repeated plans to support an NFC tie-in with the popular game Angry Birds with the new handsets, enabling users to unlock additional levels of the game by tapping their NFC phones on those of friends or on Angry Bird toys containing a tag. Angry Birds will come preloaded on all three phones. There will be support for other games, as well, such as Fruit Ninja and Asphalt 5, said Nokia, which said the latter game would come preloaded on the Nokia 701.

But the handset maker’s focus remains on its forthcoming phones supporting Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. Nokia and Microsoft plan to introduce NFC-enabled Windows phones, but not until next year, as NFC Times has reported. The first Nokia Windows phone will probably be out by the end of the year, but without NFC.

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.