Nokia has announced that from next year every Nokia smartphone will have NFC, regardless of fact that the technology lacks a business model or any market demand.
The commitment was made during a speech by Nokia's VP for markets, Anssi Vanjoki to the Moby Forum, as reported by NFC World. Vanjoki wouldn't be drawn on the company's smartphone plans, but did explain that every smartphone launched by Nokia would have an NFC component supporting the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) and MicroSD security, and probably a Nokia secure module too.
NFC (Near Field Communications) is a low-power, short-range communication standard that bundles a contactless chip with a contactless reader and puts both into a telephone for no readily discernible reason. The idea is to make a mobile phone operate as a electronic wallet, despite the fact that no one seems to want this.
Once NFC is in a handset then one can do some interesting things with remote control of home electronics and Bluetooth pairing-by-tap, but none of that is the killer feature that NFC needs to make it viable.
Of course, the mobile industry isn't used to waiting for customer demand – no one ever requested a camera, or Bluetooth, those were pushed into punters' hands by operators (to sell MMS) and retailers (to sell headsets) respectively. But those were done by the network operators (which explains the popularity of Bluetooth in Europe, where operators own retailers).
Nokia, which has extensive IP in NFC, has spent a fortune trying to convince operators to back the technology, funding extensive trials and backing supportive research, but no matter how hard it tries, NFC just isn't desirable (at least until Apple puts it into an iPhone).
So the Finns have finally decided to go it alone – even if no one else ever bothers with NFC Nokia is putting it into every smartphone starting next year. The idea is that once a significant number of handsets have NFC then the technology will take off, and by the time Apple gets round to embedding NFC into an iPhone Nokia will be a technology leader again. ®