Research In Motion is preparing to launch its refreshed BlackBerry 10 platform at the end of the month, adding what could be another major player to the Android and iOS dominated mobile market. We’ve seen some impressive video footage of its touch-centric user interface, and now we’re hearing that Visa cardholders may be able to make purchases via Near-Field Communication with these new BlackBerry devices.
On Wednesday RIM announced that its Secure Element Manager (SEM) solution for NFC mobile payments has been approved by Visa. This makes RIM all the more prominent in the modern mobile industry, and means that cardholders will essentially be able to use their smartphones like bankcards.
“The approval from Visa of RIM’s SEM solution is an important step in that it will enable carriers to support Visa issuing banks and financial institutions,” Frank Maduri, senior director of NFC services and TSM product management at RIM, said in a written statement. “We now offer carriers a robust solution with around-the-clock global support that works on any NFC-capable device, and meets the stringent technology and usability guidelines for Visa.”
This SEM essentially ensures that carriers are securely managing data found on the SIM cards installed in NFC-enabled mobile devices.
“Any place you can tap your credit card you can now tap your mobile phone,” Geoffrey MacGillvray, manager of services security and payments at RIM, said according to the Canadian Press.
This security infastructure that enables the payment service to work is built on a partnership between RIM and Canada’s three main wireless networks. Known as the EnStream agreement, this allows RIM to manage security credentials for SIM cards found in BlackBerry devices.
Although mobile wallet payments may not be the most popular mobile trend at the moment, a partnership with Visa could pave the way for future deals with other companies.
RIM will be holding a launch event at the end of the month to herald in BlackBerry 10, and it’s clear that anticipation from the mobile community is building. A special weekend event hosted by RIM yielded 15,000 new apps for the platform from developers.
We’re interested to see how this operating system is adopted once it finally launches, but you can take a look at our hands-on first impressions here.
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