Yesterday, the BlackBerry Bold 9930 got some specific launch dates and pricing from a few different carriers. The press release for Verizon’s model is conspicuously missing any mention of near-field communications, a feature that was supposed to set this phone apart from RIM’s other OS 7 devices. As it turns out, the feature is actually not to be included in the Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile versions. Why ever would NFC not be included? Well, that’s mostly a question for the respective carriers, but RIM issued a statement saying:
“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.”
There were rumours AT&T might be axing NFC in their Bold 9900 too, which seems like a sure bet at this point, though AT&T has yet to get specific with their launch dates and details. Sprint has been more than comfortable promoting NFC in their version, so this is clearly more a carrier testing thing than it is a RIM thing. In case you’re unfamiliar, near-field communications is a short-range two-way wireless standard. The most common implementation of it is in tap-and-go style payments which use a sensor at a store and a fob of some kind that’s loaded with your credit card information. You might also use NFC to get through checkpoints in security-conscious offices.
Although I’d rather have it than not, there really aren’t that many uses for NFC just yet; in the retail world at large, there are a few mobile payment sensors set up, but there’s still not a lot of the right software support when it comes to smartphones. I imagine it will take even longer for businesses to open up to the idea of using phones to open doors. Is the lack of NFC a deal-breaker for you, or just a bit of a downer? At very least, this is just a software block that’s expected to be lifted sooner or later.