RIM Promotes P2P Applications for its NFC-enabled BlackBerrys

Research in Motion is promoting peer-to-peer applications in its NFC phones, announcing today a BlackBerry Tag feature that will be included in an update to its BlackBerry 7 operating system.

The update announced today will enable users to tap NFC-enabled BlackBerrys together to share contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other content. And users will be able to tap their phones to add one another as contacts for RIM’s instant messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger.

The BlackBerry Tag feature will be available on RIM’s first NFC phones, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 and BlackBerry Curve 9350, 9360 and 9370, which have been released. These phones have an NFC chip inside but would need the update to the operating system to enable the special P2P feature.

RIM also said it plans to make application-programming interfaces available for app developers to use to “take advantage of ‘tap to share’ functionality from within their own applications.”

“BlackBerry Tag opens a new dimension to the BlackBerry platform that is powerful, simple and intuitive, and we think it will be welcomed by both users and developers,” said RIM’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie in a statement. Balsillie earlier today announced the P2P feature during a keynote speech at the Gitex conference in Dubai.

The announcement seems to make clear that the P2P exchanges of documents, URLs and photos, among other content using BlackBerry Tag, is only intended for BlackBerry users, not users of NFC phones supporting Android, Symbian or other platforms, at least not at first.

The BlackBerry NFC handsets have standard NFC chips, so it’s unclear whether developers would be able to adapt NFC phones using other operating systems to communicate in P2P mode with the BlackBerrys.

The NFC Forum only recently published a new standard NFC data exchange format for P2P communication, which will make it easier for developers to design P2P applications that work across platforms. But developers are able to bridge the gap now and enable NFC phones sporting different operating systems to talk to one another. Of course, if RIM built extra proprietary security into its BlackBerry Tag P2P software, developers wouldn't be able to construct cross-platform P2P apps. A RIM spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

It's also not clear whether RIM is talking about device pairing when it says BlackBerry Tag can enable users to transfer photos in P2P mode. Transmitting photos of any size would be time-consuming if sent strictly over the NFC interface. But using P2P mode, two NFC devices also could quickly open a Bluetooth or WiFi connection, which have much broader bandwidth than NFC.

RIM also has embedded secure chips in its NFC phones. In addition, the same phones are believed to support the single-wire protocol, enabling secure applications to be stored on SIM cards. RIM has not yet stated its plans for the embedded chips, but among them is likely to be enabling enterprises to store their corporate badges and other access-control and ID applications on the chips.

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.