back to article NFC will be in all Nokia smartphones from 2011

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    It's nice to see Nokia is focusing on every aspect of the modern smartphone that isn't interesting. Seriously, maybe they could try and build a phone that is sexy and cool instead of naffing about with these kind of useless gimmicks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nokia

      So you are selecting your phones based on their sexiness and coolness factors. Looks like you're compensating for something...

      I wouldn't mind being able to pay eg. car wash or tram tickets with this technology. I'm used to paying for such services already via text messages so this should just ease things more.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ``MicroSD security''

    AIUI, the ``Secure'' in ``Secure Digital'' refers to a proprietary DRM type thing that sees very little use exactly because the specs aren't open. Or maybe because nobody wants it. At any rate, it isn't something I'd trust my sensitive data to, making it that much more snake oil.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: ``MicroSD security''

      The security in this case refers to a seperate 'secure element' that sits inside the SD Card. It has nothing to do with the "Secure Digital"-type security on the memory card portion - the memory card form factor is just a convenient one to use. Likewise the reference to SWP in the article refers to a system for embedding a similar 'secure element' inside a SIM card.

  3. Anton Ivanov

    Build it and they will come

    In theory this can make a phone your car key, house key, alarm keyfob, keyless entry + pin entry fob and so on.

    In practice it will be to the device manufacturers to start talking in a way where Nokia can understand them. That may be a very tall order for some of them...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That sounds like a great time saving device. Unfortunately, that's also the problem.

      OK, so lets assume my Nokia is able to be my cars remote blipper, unlock my house and reset my alarm. That's cool, right up to the point where I lose it / have it stolen. Then someone can wave it around a car park until they unlock my car. Theoretically they can then use the very useful Ovi Maps to find my house (I know I'm not meant to store "home" in a sat-nav, but lets face it, people do), unlock it and deactivate the house alarm, all before I've managed to find a phone to report it missing.

      Thanks, but no thanks. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for integrating devices, just not ones which are separate for very good reasons. Hell, I don't even keep my house keys and car keys in the same pockets ffs! I'll stick with the classic two sets of keys, and if someone wants to know my alarm code, they have to beat it out of me.

      1. Nexox Enigma

        /Near/ Field

        """That's cool, right up to the point where I lose it / have it stolen. Then someone can wave it around a car park until they unlock my car."""

        The N in NFC stands for 'Near.' The NFC website says that the communications distance is 4cm, wikipedia says 10cm. Either way nobody is going to easily find your car in a parking lot.

        Not that I think it's a particularly great idea, but I think I'll be perfectly able to ignore it until it seems useful.

      2. Lau

        Facts vs. Fear

        Comments like yours reminds me of the scepticism by the Venetians when Marco Polo brought them paper money from China or the fears about credit cards or more recently about Online purchases… but I guess that you use both Paper Money and Credit Cards and possibly buy things online.

        But talking about FACTS, according to studies it takes an average of 15 minutes to find out if you lost a phone (vs. 45 minutes for wallets and far more for keys, for instance), hence the thief would need to be really fast to figure out who you are, where you live, which one is your car, etc, while with a single phone call you can lock anything. Plus, I would assume that if I had a NFC Phone with all those functionalities, I would make sure that my phone is locked, and by the time the thief figures out how to unlock the phone, I guess it'll take sometime.

        Nevertheless, as NFC is about proximity payment, I assume that you already figured out that you could not replace your car remote key with a phone…

        Saying that (to add some more facts), credit cards are far more secure when embedded in a phone than in your wallet. A Plastic Card can be cloned, while it is far more difficult to clone the one in your phone (Also considering that for payments above £/€/$10, you would need to enter your pin number - And it's far more secure to enter it on your mobile than in a reader).

  4. Tom

    SMS was also incorporated before anyone wanted it

    I think the real advantages here are ticketless transactions, like in the airport, train, tube, bus, cinema, concerts etc.

    Build it and they will come worked for SMS. Why not NFC?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I spy...

      SMS is a form of communication that complements voice calls; it's cheaper and a much better idea than, say, voicemail. (I never use voicemail, hate it in fact.) Even if the rates they charge you are flat out unbelievably extortionate compared to what it costs them to transport the things.

      If I lose my phone I lose previous SMS messages, which is likely not half as bad as losing the contact list that's also on the phone (and again closely related to "human being, communicating").

      By contrast, NFC is adding a lot of black box functionality that by definition has to work behind your back, even if it occasionally prompts you for assent. You half the time won't know what the assent is for, and on certain makes phone OS are guaranteed to be confusing and sounding meaningless and needlessly convoluted. There's no obvious reason why that functionality must be in your phone.

      Needlessly convoluted is the keyword here: There's no clear reason why anyone wielding a phone would want NFC except to incur liabilities from two sides at once: One, the only reason it's there is for operators and their cohorts to siphon more money from your account. The focus is so blatantly on "wave your phone around to lose money", that it feels like they're asking you to open up your wallet to all and sundry (with an NFC terminal) too. Two, if you lose the phone, what happens next? A previous commenter already illustrated that.

      In short, to the proposed end-user, any possible benefits are easily trampled by the risks and liabilities. No wonder that retail banks, of all sectors, see this as a wonderful opportunity to show the world just how tech-savvy they are and that yes, they too can "innovate". No thanks, dear bank. I don't need multiple industry sectors to team up to start an all-out assault on my bank account. In fact, I think I'm going to keep the money, and store it safely in an old sock.

    2. Chad H.


      The differece there is it had a purpose at the start. SMS was designed to push settings to the phone, it's also what makes your voicemail indicator come on, which is pretty darn important.

      Noone expected it to be used for actual conversations.

  5. Teoh Han Hui


    Isn't similar e-wallet technology very popular in Japan? I really can't see how that'll be more useless than say, a debit or credit card.

    1. Lee Chong Yew

      I agree.

      NFC is big in Japan. Have you seen their phones? They've had NFC for years. Tap, paid for train ticket, ticket fare will be charged to phone bill. Tap, bought cola/coffee/beer/cigarettes/used panties from a vending machine, charged to phone bill. Tap, car unlocked. Tap, house unlocked. The house even talks and welcomes you home by name!

      And they very frequently use video calls on 3G handsets compared to the rest of the world.

      Nokia probably thought that this will make them more acceptable in the Japanese market (or in markets where people want to be as hi-tech as the Japanese), and rightly so.

  6. Neil 7


    They can just as easily wave your car "blipper" around to unlock your car when you lose your car keys, what's the difference? Although, unless you lose your phone in a car park (or at a location right next to a car park, such as a supermarket or shopping center) how would they know where you car is likely to be?

    And if they only have your phone, how would they know your car is still there in the car park and you haven't already driven off? When they have your keys they know the car is still there... so in actual fact using your phone as the blipper and then losing it may be less of a problem than losing your keys.

    Finally, does your current car blipper have a security PIN code like most phones? Thought not.

    Unfortunately as the article points out, this isn't likely to be successful until Apple introduces the same technology - not because it will be better or more useful, just that Apple have the kudos to introduce something useless and make it interesting. Although with that said, NFC payment systems in Japan are very popular, and I dare say I may be more interested if the system were proven to be secure and there were more retailers supporting it (I've only ever seen one - EAT - with the NFC readers, which were always out of service).

  7. Filippo Silver badge

    waving around

    I was under the impression that the "N" in "NFC" stood for "near". As in "centimetres", not "wave around to find the car". Am I wrong?

  8. Lau
    Dead Vulture

    The Register vs. NFC

    Lacks of demand or business model?

    According to you journalists at The Register, NFC will never work… and I keep asking myself; Do you receive money from some vendors to boycott NFC? If no why this hate about the technology?

    In the States and Japan contactless payment is a reality. In UK Visa and Barclays are furnishing shops with contactless readers, while contactless ticketing is not only related to Transportation (Oyster and others), but also related to sport and music venues (Such as the Emirate Stadium in London where all Arsenal fans provided with an RFID card or the NEC venue in Birmingham).

    The NFC Forum certification will begin later this year and trials in Europe have now become into live services.

    While it’s true that the technology took longer than expected to start, NFC is now a reality.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What I think NFC needs ...

    ... if you lose your wallet with £20 in it, then you've lost £20 (and your kids photos, the tickets to that awesome gig you were going to next week, your driving licence, your credit cards etc.) so really you don't want to lose your wallet. And if you have your handbag stolen, you may lose all that, plus your car keys, house keys etc.

    So what can NFC do? Well, it can put it all into one smaller, easier to steal, easier to lose package *but* it can also have all that backed up across the network *and* provide ways of securing/wiping your phone if it is stolen.

    At the moment if your handbag is stolen, you are advised to change your house and car locks, to cancel your credit cards etc. and you have to rebuild your paper address book and diary from scratch. Put it all on a portable device and (in theory) if it is stolen, you can walk into CarphoneWarehouse, pick up a new phone, give some security information and download a new copy of your contacts, diary, money, Oyster card, debit card etc. (and have the old one on the stolen/lost phone locked/erased).

    Sounds fairly cool to me.

    PIN numbers are good ... but you could even have the display show a grid of photos and you have to know which one (or two) to touch when you wave your phone for it to work as a car start or a payment authorisation. Or have a unique pattern you pick to draw on a screen (smiley face, backwards letter K, whatever) lots of ways of stopping an NFC phone being used by anyone who grabs it from you ... even have a gesture that locks the phone for hours so that if someone forces you to give them a gesture, you can lock the phone long enough to get to another phone/computer and have it erased/tracked.

    And obviously you can use the NFC the other way around, to give a precise location start to your GPS, so when you touch in at Waterloo Station, your phone knows where you are and can ask for train times, send a message that you'll be late and that the house should turn the heating on etc.

    And similarly you can use it instead of wifi for syncing the phone to your NFC enabled laptop etc.

    Combine NFC with wireless charging and bluetooth headset and enough onboard memory, and you could even have a phone that could be completely sealed to keep out water and sand and everything else ...

    ... I can imagine a time when you place your phone into a holder on your car (or a "streetcar" or other communal car), it identifies you, unlocks the car, has your music on the phone (or available through Spotify etc.) and your GPS locations etc. and so the phone works with the car "brain" to personalise the car and get you home/to work/to friends. With your diary on the phone, it can even know what day and time it is now, so when you put it in the car it can say "Going to K&M's BBQ?" and have a route figured out.

    And no proprietary cables or connectors!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cute. And then?

      So suppose you make that theory happen. Here, lemme test it by stealing your NFC phone and abusing it in the time it takes you to hop to carphone warehouse. To make it a good test you give me your PIN with it "voluntarily" -- in practice I'd be holding you up at knifepoint, so might as well convincingly simulate that. How's it go?

      Having tested that, and I'm sure the experience will have been interesting, here's another for you: What about privacy? The great thing about tossing a coin to to man at the kiosk is that it won't be recorded and the records kept for a decade (at least seven years over here, revenue service rule), implying a place and a time where you've been, and perhaps what paper you bought, you subversive daily fail reader, you.

      Over here the police has already developed a worrying tendency to "just throw out dragnets" and ask for too much data from all parties even remotely possibly related, then sort out the details as and when needed. Various ministers and sous ministers, when called on the practice, deny there is a problem even if shown the practice broke the law, and brazenly proposed to amend the law to allow the practice after all.

      That's exactly the most overlooked problem with electronicalisation of everything: It's easy to record far too much data and it'll stay recorded without your consent, or even without you noticing. And, as various governments, and google too, are demonstrating, that sort of thing is catnip for technocrats. Meaning that if we don't nip it right in the bud, by the time we get sick of it we'll be so overseen (for our own good, of course, can't let those subversive thoughts infect good law abiding citizens!) we haven't the wigling room left to object.

      Also: "Personal Identification Number numbers". *thwap*

  10. Heikki Härkönen

    Chicken egg problem

    This is an age old chicken and egg problem. There's no NFC phones as there are no NFC readers in shops. And as there are no NFC readers there are no NFC phones.

    Now Nokia has decided to push NFC technology. We will now have the eggs, maybe the chickens will come next. It will take a few years but when there are enough NFC phones the shops will start to support NFC payments.

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