Mar 18, 2010

NFC phones

It's 2010. The NFC revolution should have happened by now.

I know this is a classical bootstrap problem: why offer services if consumers don't own NFC handsets, why produce NFC handsets if nobody offers services?

And then there are problems with the business model, there are cultural differences between banks and mobile operators, etc. There was a problem of the location of the secure element (SE): either embedded in the device (owned by the manufacturer), or on the SIM (owned by the operator). I think the mobile operators won.

Oh, and there have been countless trials and pilots.

So where are the new handsets? Below is my list of annotated bookmarks.
(I should have checked Wikipedia before I compiled that list, theirs is a superset of mine. Never mind.)

But maybe a different strategy is needed while we wait for the handset revolution: strap something onto an ordinary smart phone to NFC-enable it.
  • A sticker with a dumb RFID tag. Only tag emulation, so no smart poster support. But it should be enough for the most popular use case (proximity payment without asking for user consent).
  • A sticker with a smart tag which communicates with the handset over Bluetooth.
  • A MicroSD card such as the one by Giesecke & Devrient and the one by First Data and Tyfone.