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Official RIM statement regarding NFC on new devices

Blackberry NFC
By Adam Zeis on 16 Aug 2011 01:26 pm EDT
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If you've already read our BlackBerry Bold 9930 review (if you haven't you really should) then you know that the Verizon Bold 9930 isn't sporting NFC just yet (the GSM Bold 9900 is however). While this was quite a surprise to us, we wanted to do a little digging and see just what gives. It obviously has to do with the carriers and RIM not being in agreement on something, but just what that something is we're not totally sure. RIM released this official statement earlier today:

"RIM believes that NFC is an exciting technology that will enable many new capabilities, and we are aligning with our partners in supporting the overall NFC ecosystem by investing in NFC in our products. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 series are the first to be NFC ready, and we are working closely with carrier partners on their roll out plans for NFC." 

So while there still isn't much use in the real world for NFC just yet, some customers looking to pick up a new Bold 9930 maybe be doing so partly for the NFC capabilities. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is all NFC'd up and ready to roll, and although the Bold 9930 even sports that NFC battery door, the option to enable it is mysteriously missing. What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments!

Reader comments

Official RIM statement regarding NFC on new devices

65 Comments

Wait a minute. Are you saying vzw is limiting the native features of a device? Why, I've never.

Remember when VZW had big hardon over the bluetooth capabilities of the V710? More of the same

They both want the transaction fee involved.
Rim wants the $$$
Carrier wants the $$$

There will probably be a happy middle.

oh, didnt knew this was not on the 9930! I sure hope NFC is not going to be a US only technology. Havent heard much about NFC in europe :(

Pretty sure some carriers are working with merchants to roll out NFC in some sort of fashion. I think Sprint had some plans to do it in tandem with someone - I'm vague on the details but something along those lines.

Just those damned carriers.

you should be more clear - 9930 and 9900 are used interchangably in this article - might not be understood properly

Very first sentence..."If you've already read our BlackBerry Bold 9930 review (if you haven't you really should) then you know that the Verizon Bold 9930 isn't sporting NFC just yet (the GSM Bold 9900 is however)." That's pretty clear to me.

This ruined it for me. i was all gitty about getting it but without NFC and without the 4G on verizon, it's just lost all of it's gerth!

It has pleanty to do with the carriers. RIM and the carriers were in disagreement as to where payment information would be stored for NFC purchases. RIM wanted it on the phone and carriers on the sim card. Carriers want to make money off NFC payments, so did RIM.

Except that there are plenty of NFC uses that have nothing at all to do with payments. And there is no reason that there only needs to be a single payment solution using NFC. Both RIM and Verizon could release their own apps that use this...

With all the Acquisitions RIM has done wouldn't it be great if they acquired a carrier, they then could make the phones + features they wish with without contracts, demands and hassles that come with all the carriers.

As cool as that sounds, you'd be taking away the carrier's checks and balances, and RIM could start rushing out half baked devices again (kind of like the Playbook). As much as I hate red tape from carriers, it does provide a degree of quality control, especially from RIM (which has a somewhat shaky reputation).

I agree with your checks and balances statement. However, if RIM owned a carrier, they could then profit from Apple/Androids popularity. The only way that works is if RIM were to purchase a carrier with a high number of customers so it isn't easy for Apple/Android...etc to just walk away. I'm not sure who the largest carriers are in the US (I'm in Canada) but if RIM were to buy one of the top 2 we'll say, that would be a good financial move. Imagine your company profiting from your compitition?

I was all set on getting the 9850 on Sprint this Sunday, but Crackberry RUINED that for me with the reviews for both the 9860/9850. And after seeing the pictures and videos, it also just looks like a very cheap & plastic phone (even a plastic screen!).

So, I just ordered the Verizon 9930 and will have it tomorrow. As far as NFC, I'm not worried about it because there isn't a use for it at all right now. If it catches on in the US, a simple software update by Verizon will bring it online, so it's currently a non-issue.

I think you should have waited. I'm going for the 9930 when Sprint roles it out but you made your decision based on people who love that keyboard. You may have come down to the same conclusion but at least having it in your hands would have been a deciding factor.

Impatience got the better of me. But I was always worried about the virtual keyboard on the 9850, and the overall package with the 9930 seems like a much better fit. And after the metal/glass phones from Apple and HTC, it's hard to buy into plastic, especially ALL plastic (battery doors don't count). At the end of the day, I'm sure I made the right choice.

I didn't know it was plastic!
ugh!
and i so wanted the 9850 with verizon!
want to know what you think of your new bold!
please send a message and let me know!
thanks!

Catch a wave and your sitting on top of the world!

The statement just basically means RIM"s partners are looking at ways of monotizing NFC and for the user to pay for it.

If verizon refuses to accept the phone if NFC (and mobile hotspot) is enabled there's nothing that you can blame RIM for. As stated in prior comments, Verizon is known for disabling their phones in an attempt to monetize things. Remember the pearl and the gps fiasco. no gps so you must use vz navigator. Once vzw and the others figure out a way to sell subscription access to nfc i'm sure they will.

As long as the hardware is there I won't mind waiting for NFC to be enabled later.I'm more upset about RIM cheapening out(again) and cutting out the Auto-Focus hardware for the 99xx's camera.

maybe it's just another tactic for carriers to charge their customers to use NFC , they just can't figure out how to do it or how much they can charge for it yet ...

Verizon would like to make NFC payments go to your phone bill so they can charge you a service fee to line their pockets and still make you pay the entire balance right away. RIM would rather see it go directly to your bank account or credit card which would make it more attractive and easier for consumers.

Verizon wants to control every aspect of wireless use for their own profit; RIM wants to put the people in control of their own devices and features. Haven't we seen this before OVER and OVER?! Let's not forget the Verizon OS debacle on older LG and Motorola phones. Thank God they let that go! Can you imagine a VZW-specific android build? When will big red realize trying play all the puppet strings really alienates the consumer?

2 problems with that.

Corporation will never allow it. They block sodas and food on gas purchases.

NFC is not just for credit card transactions.

Yes, RIM dropped the AF and used a smaller battery but the lack of NFC on the VZW 9930 is all on BIG RED!!!!!

It's really amazing how many features US carriers(and in this case, Vodaphone UK) are allowed to block or charge the customers for.

If they are trying to figure out a way to charge for it then by all means please please please charge me for using Wifi when I am at home. Charge ME for connecting my phone to my car through bluetooth. Seriously it makes as much sense as charging for NFC.

The Sprint 9930 will have NFC enabled straight out the box. So go get a Sprint bold Sunday when it launches.

Great foresight on RIMM. Finally, they are stepping up on new frontiers and getting in front of things as opposed to relying on their admittedly very cool and snappy e-mail and messaging.

Think of how disappointed someone that just gets a phone will be in six months when you can use NFC to pay for stuff, keep your gym info, exchange info with friends, get info from billboards etc.

Kinda like the Playbook having the video camera but not the software upon release. A few days later we got the software and viola I video call the wife and kids from the office often. If you purchased an iPad 1, you would just deal with the fact that now you won't ever have video capability, even though the hardware already had a slot for the camera. I'd rather get the hardware capable device and grow into it than not.

If there is a serice charge for NFC transactions, I don't think I will be using that feature. We are not talking about a critical feature. It would be just as easy to use my actual credit card. Nice feature, but not worth paying extra for it. IMO

Is it possible that the "payment charge" would be passed on to the vendor rather than the consumer, like with credit cards?

Jesus. Everyone wants their cut of my swipe. It's ridiculous how all these companies think they are the ones I should pay to when I buy something.

At least Visa, Mastercard et al are operating a network to connect terminals to banks. Carriers don't do anything. There's a chip in the phone, and that entitles them to take fees out of its usage.

NFC is still a new tech that has very limited uses right now so really im not loseing any sleep on it. what i am loseing sleep on is the fact that bell didnt buy the cdma versions

C'mon Adam. Learn to be complete in your research. Sprint will have NFC active at launch. Verizon will NOT.

I have an easy solution for all you fans of the 9930.... Buy one from Sprint outright and put it a Verizon BYO plan.... I'm in Australia (on Telstra) and don't want to wait till Christmas to get my 9900, so I just bought one on eBay and i'll just transfer my Account over to the new device... Piece of cake really....

So vzw does it yet again?!?!?
another mess us over job to the users!!!
that is bogus!!!
like someone else said..i would like to have the tech and watch it grow around me!
this plays a major part in my decision to go back to BB!!!!!
sorry RIM!!!

It doesn't bother me that i wouldn't be able to use it, it bothers me that phone is built for it and READY for it, but Verizon wont let it. I don't think it detracts from the phone much though, its still a nice piece of hardware, as for mobile hotspot Verizon over-prices that shit anyway so i wouldn't buy it ^.^ ha, Besides most VISA credit cards/ ATM cards have the "Pass and go" payment thing already in them or atleast mine do. Yes the data transfer would be nice, but in the US it hasn't really caught on, maybe its just me in California. Iv NEVER seen ANYTHING with a NFC chip in it ever. What i do see alot is QR codes. Can't wait for my 9930 im getting it in two weeks :D

Here in Czech republic O2 started a moth ago a pilot project for NFC payments in hypermarkets (two retail networks involved yet). And as it looks like, it requires special application on the phone SIM card. As far as I understood the principle, the carrier is only involved this way: distribution of special SIMs for it. This obviously requires contract between card issuer (VISA here) and the carrier. Maybe somewhere there is the Verizon problem with it...

This is plain stupid.
As a developer i don't care what carrier the user has, I want to use NFC.
I guess this explains why NFC doesn't work on my 9900.

As a comparison, NFC on android is not carrier dependent.