One of the biggest announcements from Research In Motion at Mobile Congress World 2011 wasn't made via a press release, but rather by RIM's Co-CEO Jim Balsillie when he was on stage during a keynote yesterday. The announcement? He confirmed Near Field Communication (NFC) support on future BlackBerry Smartphones. Of course CrackBerry readers already knew this was coming via the leaked 2011 BlackBerry Smartphone Roadmap, but apparently the greater world did not as RIM's stock actually rallied up a few dollars yesterday on the news. We're still trying to hunt down the video with Jim's speech, but you can check out the video above of Mike Kirkup from BlackBerry Developer Day where he again confirms the NFC news (as well magnetometer support in BlackBerry 6.1).
If you're not familiar with NFC, there are three main ways to put it to use in mobile:
- Card emulation - the NFC equipped BlackBerry behaves like an existing contactless card
- Reader mode - the NFC equipped BlackBerry is active and reads a passive RFID tag, for example for interactive advertising
- P2P mode - NFC equipped devices are communicating together and exchanging information (between two phones, or phones and accesssories equipped with it, etc).
So what kind of specific uses can we expect to see in the future? Think mobile ticketing in transportation, swiping into your office building with your BlackBerry, mobile payment (your BlackBerry is now your credit card.... scary thought?!) and one of the big things it could also help in is the automatic pairing of two Bluetooth devices.
Let me go out on a limb here... I'm going to PREDICT (I'm pretty much 100% confident we'll see this happen) that when the next generation of BlackBerry Smartphones hit the market that are NFC equipped, you'll be able to create the BlackBerry Bridge between your BlackBerry Smartphone and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet simply by bringing the phone next to the tablet - you won't have to manually setup any of the Bluetooth pairing... it'll just happen via the magic of NFC.