GLOBAL – If you want to swap data wirelessly, pair an accessory, make a payment or check-in by just tapping your phone against something else, it’s the new technology called NFC that makes that happen. Although, this isn’t actually all that new. Nokia has been working with NFC since the early to mid 2000s. Let’s take a look at what’s happened since then.
NFC prototype – 2003
Nokia 6210 trial – 2004
One year later, Nokia had modified a Nokia 6210 that was able to read RFID tags. In a joint venture with JC Decaux, Nokia used these modified phones to read tags and send a SMS once the tag had been read.
Near Field Communication Forum – 2004
In 2004, Nokia, Philips and Sony established the Near Field Communication Forum with the aim to advance the use of NFC technology. The goal was to create standards in the mobile industry that would ensure interoperability among different devices and services.
Now, with 160 members of the Forum, any device that contains NFC technology has the ability to interact with any other NFC device, due to everybody using the same specifications.
Nokia 5140i + NFC Shell – 2004
Initially announced at CeBIT 2004 and then shipped in early 2005, these specially designed covers would clip over the Nokia 5140 or Nokia 5140i and allow for the reading and writing of RFID tags.
Often referred to as a “builders phone” the NFC shell and system would go onto be used in many places, such as: Helsinki Airport; Biffa UK; Health Care Netherlands; and City Services Barcelona proving that NFC technology was not only easy to use, but useful.
Nokia 3220 + NFC Shell – 2004
At the Nokia Mobility Conference in Monaco, Nokia announced another NFC Shell for the Nokia 3220 – the CC-229D. This shell housed your Nokia 3220 giving you access to browsing and text message services by touching NFC tags.
It was also used on the RMV services in Germany to allow for card emulations on their travel systems. Commuters could use their phone as a travel ticket which meant that this became the world’s first secure element NFC system.
Outside of Europe, the first U.S.A. NFC trial took place with the help from Visa, Chase Bank, ViVOtech and Cingular to make payments in Atlanta.
Nokia 6131 NFC – 2007
This was the first phone to have ever been created with NFC technology built in. This flip (clam shell) phone was able to interact with other NFC equipment right out of the box. With the Nokia 6131 NFC, users were able to make purchases, access mobile services, or even use their phone as a travel ticket.
First USA usage of the Nokia 6131 NFC was carried out in New York with Citi, MasterCard and AT&T. While at the same time in in several cities across China, the Nokia 3220 with NFC Shell and the 6131 NFC were being used for ticketing and payment systems.
Back in Europe, one of the major Austrian mobile networks, Mobilkom started selling the Nokia 6131 NFC. Users could expect to be able to pay for items, use their phone as a ticket on travel systems and pay for parking in car parks just by tapping their phone against a reader.
In London from late 2007 heading into 2008, 500 Londoners were given a Nokia 6131 NFC that enabled them to use their phone as an Oyster Card on the travel network and also pay for items as if the phone was a debit card.
Nokia 6212 Classic – 2009
Nokia’s next move into the world of NFC was the Nokia 6212, but this time moving from flip phone to monoblock. Transferring business cards became really simple and Nokia even introduced NFC calling. You could touch your phone against an NFC tag and have your phone call a pre-programmed number. While not useful for everybody, it was more suited for businesses.
Nokia C7 – September, 2010
With this update, your Nokia C7 could connect to Bluetooth headsets, send and receive files and read NFC tags with nothing other than a tap of the phone.
Nokia Oro – May 25, 2011
The Nokia Oro is a premium product plated with 18-carat gold, wrapped in Caledonian leather and bejeweled with a sapphire crystal. Plus NFC, of course.
Nokia N9 – Jun 21, 2011
The Nokia N9 is a smartphone created to be really simple. It boasted all that was needed to use it was a swipe. I’d like to add a second gesture if I may. The tap. Having NFC on-board, tapping the Nokia N9 against various objects, including NFC-posters, other phones and accessories made connecting to services or products very simple indeed.
Nokia 700 – Aug 24 2011
The world’s smallest smartphone was the Nokia 700. It saw the start of NFC becoming more mainstream with people around the world using this technology.
Nokia 701– Aug 24, 2011
Being launched on the same day as the Nokia 700, the Nokia 701 was another powerful, Nokia Belle smartphone – pushing the power of NFC even further.
Nokia 603 – Oct 13, 2011
Offering all the Nokia Belle features and NFC functionality, the Nokia 603 is a mid-range smartphone. This means that NFC is available to more and more people at a more affordable price. The Nokia 603 is also able to perform payments via NFC.
Nokia 808 PureView – Feb 27, 2012
While not yet available to purchase, the Nokia 808 PureView was announced at Mobile World Congress this year. Not only does it comes with a breath-taking 41-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, but it’s the latest Symbian phone to have NFC functionality for sharing, pairing, tag reading and payments.
Nokia Lumia 610 NFC
Announced today, the Nokia Lumia 610 NFC is the first Nokia Lumia smartphone with NFC on-board. You’ll also be able to connect to various pieces of Nokia Gear and read many different NFC tags. It’s also been given contactless payments certification by both MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave solution.
If we look over the past eight years, Nokia has come a long way with NFC. From the rather awkward – but functional – NFC shell, to being fully incorporated into the OS of popular smartphones around the globe.
Nokia is a big believer in making things as simple as possible for people to connect and will continue to improve the usability of NFC and make it more useful for more people.
Are you an NFC user? Or will you be in the near future? We’d like to hear your thoughts about NFC, using the comments section below.
image credit: Jeanbaptisteparis
Updated October 1, 2015 2:38 pm