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

Contactless EMV Card Rollout in U.S. to Pick Up Speed in 2020, but Shape of Adoption Remains Unclear

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With contactless EMV cards expected to have a significant footprint in the U.S. in 2020, the debate continues over whether the rollout will promote or harm take-up of NFC mobile payments and whether contactless open-loop transit payments will make a real impact on use of contactless at the retail point of sale.

More Open-Loop Transit Payments Services to Launch in Taiwan

Dec 24 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Taiwan’s airport train service will begin accepting Visa- and Mastercard-branded credit cards starting next month, making it the second mass-transit service on the island nation to support open-loop payments for fares.

In-Depth: China Moving Forward On Face Payments of Transit Fares, Despite Some Hesitation by Users of Technology

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight –  More and more Chinese cities are trialing use of facial recognition technology for transit ticketing, a development that could enable users to avoid either cards or smartphones to pay fares on subways and other modes of transit.

Apple Launches Express Transit in London; Mobility Service also Adds NFC Payments Feature in Apple Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple has expanded its Express Transit service to another major market, enabling Apple Pay users to pay for fares on Transport for London-run trains and buses without first authenticating themselves on the NFC devices.

Analysis: Outlook Remains Dim for Bank Mobile Wallets as Another Major Bank Plans to Shut Down its Wallet App

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Major Dutch bank ABN Amro will discontinue its NFC-enabled mobile wallet in January, a little more than three years after launching the app in late 2016, with the bank acknowledging that few customers use the service.

Use of Contactless EMV to Pay Transit Fares Accelerating, According to Two Agencies That Launched Service This Year

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Two transit agencies, one large and one small, that began accepting contactless bank cards and NFC wallets to pay fares in recent months are reporting that use of the new payments services is accelerating among their customers.

More Transit Authorities and Operators, Including Those in UK, to Support Google Pay

Nov 6 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive – San Francisco Bay Area transit authority MTC has confirmed to NFC Times that it will support mobile payments with its closed-loop Clipper transit card, including with Google Pay, by the end of 2020.

NFC Wallets Make Up Growing Share of Contactless Payments on London Transit

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Use of NFC wallets continues to steadily increase as part of Transport for London’s landmark contactless payments service, with payments from NFC-enabled smartphones and smartwatches now accounting for 20% of all contactless payments, NFC Times has learned. 

Market Research Firm: Apple Pay Surpasses Starbucks App in Users in U.S.

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight –Apple Pay, which launched its mobile payments service five years ago this week in the U.S., has so far failed to live up to expectations with the service, either in the U.S. or globally, in terms of users and transactions.

Cubic Strikes Deal with Google to Enable Closed-Loop Transit Payments in Google Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In a move that could enable more large transit agencies to offer NFC mobile payments with their closed-loop transit cards, U.S.-based Cubic Transportation Systems has signed an agreement with Google to integrate contactless transit cards with Google Pay. Among the agencies planning to support the service are those serving Google’s home base in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York. 

In-Depth: Persistent Consumer Security Fears about Mobile Payments Prove Difficult to Dislodge

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Results of yet another survey has shown that a significant percentage of U.S. consumers continue to harbor security fears about using their smartphones for payments, a stubborn problem that has hindered growth of mobile payments from the beginning.

Mobile Suica Still Accounts for Disappointing Share of Suica Users and Transactions in Japan

NFC TIMES Exclusive – While Apple Pay next month will mark the 5th anniversary since its launch in the U.S., there is another contactless-mobile payments service that is three times as old as Apple Pay–Japan’s Osaifu-Keitai, or wallet phones, which this year turned 15.