Nokia & The Road To NFC

Over the last two days Nokia invited a host of people to experience their new NFC and Symbian Belle devices in a wonderfully relaxed setting that is Goa. The two day event was all about Nokia’s push towards NFC and its attempt to recapture the hearts of Nokia loyalists who have been swayed by Android and other platforms. A major player in Nokia’s arsenal is the new Symbian Belle experience that revamps the ‘old’ Symbian UI, and replaces it with something fresh, smooth and fast.

All three Symbian Belle devices, the 701, 700 and the 600 are powered by 1 Ghz processors and this results in an infinitely smoother experience compared to even the devices that run Symbian Anna. Additionally, each has its unique selling point – the 701 has the brightest screen, the 700 is the slimmest and the 600 can play FM radio without headphones having to act as antennas and its also the loudest. The one common element between all of them is NFC.

NFC – Or ‘Just Tap’ As Nokia Calls It

Explaining NFC to an average person on the street is a humungous task and Nokia seems to be playing it smart here. Instead of shouting NFC NFC NFC, they will focus on a catch phrase called ‘Just Tap’ which will be at the helm of all NFC branding. The end user doesn’t need to know that NFC is the handshake and how bluetooth then takes over to handle the actual transfer of data, the message he gets is that if you tap two Nokia phones against each other, the picture is automatically sent across, no turning on bluetooth nothing. All of this is handled by the phone on its own and to make sure that NFC doesn’t drain all the power in the background, it automatically shuts off if the screen is locked or if the save battery mode is activated. Additionally, the phones also come with a NFC toggle widget that you can place anywhere on your home screen.

With the first generation of NFC devices, Nokia not focusing on the mobile wallet aspect at all. They probably recognize that the infrastructure is not in place yet, and are therefore looking at showing the users other use cases for NFC. Pairing their bluetooth accessories, using NFC tags as links to app, for mobile vouchers and so on.

To educate the consumers, Nokia will also be putting an NFC tag in all retail boxes of the new Belle devices. The tag will take users to the Nokia app store and help them find even more apps. There is also talk of getting up NFC tags in the thousands on Nokia Priority Stores in India, so that users can just walk in, tap their phones and get unto speed on the latest app, music and other information that is being pushed.

We’ve heard of Angry Birds Magic before, its the same Angry Birds, but with a twist. To unlock new levels you need to tap your phone against an NFC enabled devices, tag etc. This game will also be preloaded on all these new devices. With time we’ll see more and more similar games which would let users initiate multiplayer sessions using NFC, and generally take the NFC experience to a level the consumer would look at as almost magical.

Nokia seems to be an the forefront of this movement and with their vision of taking NFC to price points their competitors aren’t hitting, they are in the running to build a potential lead.

I personally can’t wait for the day when I can walk into my coffee shop, tap my phone and walk out with my favorite cup of coffee without even having to order, with an app taking care of my preferences, and not just payments. The use cases for NFC are huge, soon your phone would act as the key to your car, your house and even your hotel room.

Which aspect of NFC are you most looking forward to?

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