When Nokia announced its latest Symbian Belle phones last week, the company emphasized that all three devices support Near-Field Communications (NFC) technology that enable the devices to be used as payment methods and mobile wallets at point of purchases: if retailers support the technology, they can just wave their phones near point-of-sales terminals and approve the transaction—depending how users have things set up, payments might come off a credit card, out of a bank account, or get appended to a user’s phone bill. NFC technology can also be used to transfer contact and calendar information between proximate devices and has significantly applications for gaming and social sharing.
Nokia’s Symbian operating system might be going the way of the dodo—eventually—but the company is planning broad NFC support across future Symbian handsets. Nokia told NFC World all future Symbian smartphones will support NFC technology, and the company will also extend NFC support to users of the current Nokia C7 phones.
Symbian phones should have universal NFC support by mid-2012.
The move could be a smart one for Nokia: Symbian phones are still the company’s bread and butter, particularly in emerging markets. Although NFC is facing some resistance from retailers, payment processors, and consumers in developed markets like North America, it’s seen as broadly applicable to markets like India and China.