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back to article Nokia pulls the plug on wireless payment handset

Nokia has scrapped its third NFC handset, the 6216, which never got launched despite being scheduled for last year and despite China Unicom's plans for an NFC launch. The 6216 would have been Nokia's third NFC handset, but the first to have handed control of the payment system to the operator's SIM through the Single Wire …

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WTF?

What are nokia smoking?

Quite apart from not wanting NFC in the first place for leaving myself open to having monies swiped from my phone while the phone is inside my pocket and perhaps even turned off, I would much prefer to not end up with multiple pieces of a puzzle, all vital single points of failure.

There is something to be said to not have my phone number identity and NFC identity stuck on a single SIM (so I'd like a dual, triple, or even quad SIM phone, thanks), the idea of a pluggable identity in an essentially replaceable phone has proven much more palatable than the phone identity bound to the handset idea that USian non-SIM cellular operators used. Most if not all have moved to SIM based operations even if they don't use GSM. So what are nokia smoking?

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SIMs are easy

Having the secure module embedded in the phone makes production kind of complicated. "Tying the user to the telephone rather than the SIM card" is an easy phrase to say but implementation is another matter. SIM cards (in the same way as banking cards) can be easily produced and personalised in secure environments. Doing this with the telephones is a totally different matter.

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Alert

too slow for transport ticketing?

possible explanation:

"Our feeling was the readiness for SWP on devices was not there yet."

The rumour mill (could be untrue) was suggesting that during testing the SIM based secure elements connected to the NFC modem over one-wire protocol were just not quick enough, with transactions taking over 650ms.

That is far too slow for use in Transport systems, where 250ms is generally accepted as the desired transaction time, so that people can get through gates while still walking.

Together with the ongoing debate on chicken and egg, and finding a business model suitable for all collaborators could well have given Nokia "concern with regards to the timing with other elements to make NFC a success,"

In light of this, and China Mobile's tangential activities, we still reckon that the widespread adoption of mass-market consumer NFC handsets is still very much an "if" not a "when" for the time being, and are proceeding with faster alternative technologies for mobile ticketing that work on existing handsets without modification (especially now that mobile barcode is faster than 250ms). http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/19/nfc_forum_video/

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Actually fast enough for transport ticketing

I was seriously involved in the development and testing of an NFC-based transportation system and I can attest that transportation transactions with a phone are fast enough (i.e. less than 250ms). First, the SWP subsystem in the phone adds a mimimum amount of overhead (5-10%). Second, SIM cards that support SWP are typically faster than comparable full-size contactless JavaCards, because SIM cards are powered by the phone's battery while a contactless card relies only on the power transmitted by the reader.

Now it does not means that we are home free. Native transportation cards are still a lost faster than JavaCards (typically under 100ms). However, 250ms is "fast enough" and integrating the transportation application in a mobile phone opens many interesting use cases.

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Nokia Obstructionism?

Guess there is a lot of money to the group that processes the payments. If it is neutral, then Nokia and other handheld manufacturers miss out on the dough. If they step in the middle, ostensibly providing better QoS, then they stand to grab a little of it. Of course that is at the cost of holding up the technology for the consumers. NFC payment is going to happen, and basically they are not going to control the market as long as the credit card companies, mobile network operators, and other mobile vendors are still breathing...and naturally all grabbing for a piece of the pie at the same time. QoS my arse. Pull the other one Nokia.

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Anonymous Coward

Old News

Nokia announced this ages ago....

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