updated 09:10 am EST, Tue November 16, 2010
Leak has BlackBerry getting NFC support
RIM plans to add near field communications chips to the BlackBerry, sources claimed this morning. The smartphone lineup would get NFC sometime next year. More details, including what it would be used for, weren't available from the WSJ's tips.
The addition would make RIM the latest smartphone maker to have signed on either officially or unofficially to use NFC. Google confirmed NFC in Android 2.3 on Monday, but Apple is also believed to be making an NFC-equipped iPhone 5. Nokia has also pledged to have NFC in all its 2011 smartphones.
The slip came just as AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon formally established Isis, a joint partnership on mobile payment. The approach will use NFC and smartphones to buy goods on the spot. Combined, they expect to add support for coupons and other discounts and to support both stores as well as public transit and other ticketed sales.
Discover is proving the back infrastructure for Isis, while Barclaycard US is issuing some of the first practical services.
The effort should see the NFC payment plan start in the US sometime in the next 18 months, or roughly in time for Apple, Google, Nokia and RIM to have NFC smartphones on the market. Significant early adoption could help the US catch up to countries like Japan, where NFC is used very frequently instead of credit and debit cards.