BlackBerry maker RIM is advertising for an interoperability testing specialist, with a view to ensuring that BlackBerry devices work properly with NFC. RIM has revealed that such devices are in development.
That shouldn't be surprising - when RIM's CEO was asked last week if Near Field Communications features in its future, he replied: "We'd be fools not to have it in the near term... and we're not fools", but the advertisement for a testing specialist suggests that "near term" means very soon indeed.
In the interview, which can be seen in full over at NFC World, RIM CEO Jim Balsillie is asked who will control the NFC architecture and expresses his opinion that "...the wise person tries to align with banks on NFC and payments", which gives some indication of the direction in which RIM is heading.
NFC, or N-Mark as the standard is formally known, provides for short-range communication and is already being used in credit cards and mass-transit tickets. Nokia has been trying to push the technology into phones for half a decade, but without any success, thanks largely to indifference on the part of network operators.
Now Google is now embracing NFC, with Facebook endorsing NFC-based Bling Nation for payments and location tracking. Apple almost certainly embedding the technology into the next iPhone, so RIM would indeed be fools not to have the technology primed.
The real question, as ever with NFC, is who gets the keys to the secure element from which financial transactions are authorised. From his comments it seems that RIM's CEO favours putting the banks in charge, which should prove an interesting counterbalance to the competition. ®