RIM Announces First NFC-Enabled BlackBerrys

Research in Motion, as expected, has announced its first two NFC-enabled BlackBerrys, as it kicks off its BlackBerry World conference scheduled for this week in Orlando, Fla.

The new models, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Bold 9930, which are upgrades to RIM's Bold series, have NFC chips built in, supported by NFC software in RIM’s latest BlackBerry 7 operating system. The new models are due to be shipped to world markets starting this summer.

RIM in its announcement today noted that NFC would enable users to easily pair the smartphones with accessories, which would include headsets, and to read information, such as a Web link, by tapping the phones on NFC tags in smart posters.

There was no mention in the press material of using the handsets for NFC-based payment or ticketing. But the NFC chips RIM is using, which NFC Times has reported are supplied by France-based Inside Secure, likely are Inside's SecuRead product. This product combines the chip maker's MicroRead NFC controller with a secure element.

This stacked chip could support payment or other secure applications on this embedded secure element or on a separate NFC-enabled SIM card. RIM has said it would support the single-wire protocol and, therefore, SIM applications, in its NFC-enabled BlackBerrys. But the Canada-based smartphone maker is also known to be interested in using embedded secure chips for applications in its NFC devices.

Update: Among the possible uses by RIM of the chips would be to store employee credentials as part of enterprise security applications. Two other announcements by RIM Monday related to enhanced offers for corporations and government agencies, including a secure multiplatform device management system. RIM also probably wants its own trusted server management service. Research in Motion spokesperson was not available Monday for comment. End update.

The 9900 and 9930 are expected to be the first of several BlackBerrys supporting NFC from RIM, which has said that many, if not most, of its smartphones will support the technology.

RIM hopes NFC and other new features offered by the new Bold models–which the company touts as its thinnest BlackBerry smartphones ever–will help lift the company out of the doldrums.

RIM last week issued a profit warning, notifying investors of weaker than anticipated BlackBerry smartphone sales for the first quarter. The company, however, said it expects “strong revenue growth” in the third and fourth quarters driven by BlackBerry launches and cost savings.

Among the launches will be the NFC-enabled BlackBerry Bold smartphones announced today, which are expected to start shipping in the third quarter. The phones also will sport touch screens to go along with their BlackBerry keyboards, and 1.2 GHz processors

The new phones would compete this year with NFC-enabled smartphones based on the Android platform, as well as a few more expected Symbian smartphones from Nokia.

Samsung, maker of Google’s Nexus S Android phone that is already on the market, also plans to ship the sequel to its popular Galaxy S smartphone with NFC inside, the Galaxy S II.

Samsung will also come out with an NFC-enabled smartphone supporting its bada operating system, the Wave 578, along with a follow-up to its S5230 NFC phone, which will still be a 2G feature phone. Both new NFC models are expected by mid-2011.

At least one NFC-enabled Android model each from LG Electronics and HTC are expected during the second half of this year. Nokia also is likely to introduce at least a couple more NFC-enabled Symbian smartphones in coming months, in addition to its C7, which is to begin shipping with the NFC functionality enabled. 

 

HEADLINE NEWS

Los Angeles Transit Authority Follows Through with Plans to Enable TAP Card for Apple Pay; Google Pay to Follow

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Another major U.S. transit agency has introduced a virtual closed-loop card for Apple Pay this week, with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, announcing the move Thursday. It comes a couple of days after the Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or WMATA, announced it had put its SmarTrip closed-loop card on Apple’s NFC-enabled devices, as well.

Apple Enables Virtual SmarTrip Fare Card for Apple Pay in Washington, D.C., with More Closed-Loop Transit Cards Expected This Year in U.S.

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple added support for its latest closed-loop transit card for Apple Pay, enabling customers of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or WMATA, to tap their NFC-enabled iPhones and Apple Watches to pay for rides with WMATA’s SmarTrip virtual card.

Insight: Apple’s Long Game Pays Off, Conquering Resistance to Apple Pay from Banks in Europe and Beyond

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – It’s coming up on six years since Apple announced its groundbreaking digital-payments service, Apple Pay. And while consumer adoption remains a work in progress, Apple has had considerable success gaining participation from banks and other issuers in what is now more than 50 countries worldwide.

Transit Agency in Canada Plans to Launch Mobile Ticketing, Citing Covid Fears

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Another transit agency in Canada has announced it will enable mobile ticketing, along with reloadable contactless cards, citing in part the Covid-19 pandemic and the desire to reduce the use of cash, vending machines and customer interaction with agency staff.

Biggest U.S. Supermarket Chain Trials Contactless as Covid-19 Fears Increase Demand for ‘No-Touch Payments’

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The announcement by The Kroger Co., the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., that it has begun trialing contactless payments in a subsidiary indicates that one of the last major holdouts among big U.S. merchants will eventually accept such NFC payments services as Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as contactless bank cards.

Southern California Transit Agency to Sell Tickets Via Google Maps and Google Pay; Others Expected to Follow

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – There’s more evidence that popular trip-planning apps Transit, Moovit and Google Maps are seeking to expand further into mobile ticketin

Insight: Apple Buys Mobile-POS Firm as It Seeks to Expand Acceptance of Contactless Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In a move seeking to expand the base of merchants that can accept its payments service, Apple Pay, Apple has reportedly acquired Montreal, Canada-based mobile POS company Mobeewave, which could enable small shop owners, restaurants and street vendors, among others, to more easily accept contactless EMV cards and NFC mobile wallets.

Exclusive: Google Tests Mobile Ticketing Initiated in Maps App; Could Lead to Mobility-as-a-Service Offer?

Jul 23 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Three small public transit agencies in the U.S. are quietly testing use of Google Maps and Google Pay to enable customers to first plan then pay for tickets. It’s believed to be the first pilots of its kind for Google, a move that could mean the search giant plans to compete with such popular trip-planning apps as Transit and Moovit, which are starting to enable public transit ticketing and payments, NFC Times reports.

Los Angeles Transit Authority to Support Closed-Loop TAP Card in Both Apple Pay and Google Pay

Jul 17 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, plans to introduce an Android version of its TAP closed-loop fare card, with a virtual TAP card for the Google Pay wallet, a Metro spokesman confirmed to NFC Times.

Uber Expands Mobile Ticketing to More U.S. Public Transit Agencies

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As expected, Uber today has expanded support for public transit ticketing in its app again, this time to a consortium of 13 small and mid-tier transit agencies in Ohio and Northern Kentucky–following two other U.S. transit agencies, in Denver and Las Vegas, which have already integrated with Uber–it was announced today. NFC Times had reported the planned move in late May. 

Open-Loop Fare Payments Rollouts Continue Post-Lockdowns, with Italy’s Fourth Largest City Latest to Launch Service

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Another of Italy’s major cities has launched open-loop fare collection, with Turin enabling customers to pay for rides on its one-line metro and certain bus routes by tapping their contactless EMV credit and debit cards, along with smartphones and smartwatches supporting NFC payments services.

Calgary Transit Launches Mobile-Ticketing Service with Plans to Expand to Open Loop

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Canada’s third largest city, Calgary, has introduced its first electronic fare payments service, offering mobile ticketing from a software-as-a-service platform provider, with plans to enable customers to pay for fares with their contactless EMV credit and debit cards and NFC wallets.