updated 06:20 pm EDT, Tue August 16, 2011
Sibling 9900 does support NFC
RIM on Tuesday issued an unusually non-definitive statement on NFC in the BlackBerry Bold 9900 family. The early smartphone pioneer reaffirmed its support for the short-range wireless technology but failed to explain why the GSM-based 9900 is NFC ready while the CDMA version, the 9930, is not. The 9930 on sale at Verizon has the NFC antenna in the battery cover but doesn't have the option to switch it on in software.
"RIM believes that NFC is an exciting technology that will enable many new capabilities, and we are aligning with our partners in supporting the overall NFC ecosystem by investing in NFC in our products. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 series are the first to be NFC ready, and we are working closely with carrier partners on their roll out plans for NFC," RIM explained to CrackBerry.
While the 9900 does have embedded NFC capabilities, that does not mean that the service will be available to users. AT&T is said to be planning to disable NFC when it launches the phone next week, though this may just be that it's not ready. Vodafone launched the phone in the UK last week, with NFC similarly blocked.
There is some speculation that the lack of functionality may be due to some disagreement between RIM and its wireless service provider partners. RIM supposedly wants information stored in a secure area that would be locked to one device, while carriers want it to be on the SIM card and portable between phones.