BlackBerry Going NFC too

Not to be left out of what plenty of wireless companies think will be the next big thing in smartphones, Research In Motion (RIM) is allegedly planning on putting near field communication (NFC) technology in its BlackBerrys. The information comes from sources that tipped off the WSJ. Isis, the joint venture that includes Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, will bring broad support for NFC as a form of mobile payment at first. However, you can count on the technology exploding as every smartphone manufacturer starts putting in the necessary hardware and companies start thinking up new ways to use it.

NFC is a pretty simple concept. It relies on very high frequency radio waves that travel very short distances and can quickly transmit encrypted data back and forth. This makes it perfect for use in digital wallet technology. With an NFC enabled handset, you will be able to pay for purchases at a retailer that supports the technology without opening your wallet, purse or wherever you stow your credit or debit cards. The phone simply sends the appropriate payment information to the retailer and the transaction is processed just like a normal one.

Software support for the technology has already been announced by Google and will appear in Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ which is due out to launch in the very near future. RIM’s decision to jump on board is a no-brainer. While it will take the company until at least sometime next year before NFC chipsets start showing up in BlackBerry models, the leaked information means that every major smartphone maker is now on board.

Apple’s iPhone 5 is widely expected to have NFC support and Nokia wants to put the technology into all of its smartphones by the end of next year. iOS, Android, MeeGo and Symbian, and now finally BlackBerry are now all aboard the NFC train. With Discover providing the necessary credit and debit card processing services, this should take off pretty quickly. Don’t get your hopes up too high yet though—NFC payment at your local retailer probably won’t be a reality until the end of 2011 or sometime in mid 2012.

Now that RIM is on board, what will happen to barcode scanning? RIM was pushing its barcode scanning technology earlier this year as a way to get information on the spot, check into places and generally do a lot of the same non-mobile payment things that NFC can. Is barcode scanning going to die before it ever becomes popular?

Let me know what you think. Ready for a little

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