Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

Summary: Who is bringing the NFC technology to Windows Phone? How/when will it be rolled out? So many questions, so few answers....


Bloomberg BusinessWeek and the New York Times have both reported that Microsoft is looking to add support for Near-Field Communications (NFC) to the Windows Phone platform in the not-too-distant future.

NFC is short-range wireless technology that will enable mobile payments. Users with NFC-capable phones will be able to use their phones like a credit card to pay for products and services.

Microsoft isn't confirming the NFC reports. (Nor are officials denying them.) But after reading a few subsequent reports, it sounds to me like it is going to be Microsoft's new best-friend Nokia that will be delivering NFC -- at least initially.

Nokia is going to be demo'ing something at Microsoft's Mix '11 conference in mid-April, according to Microsoft Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore, who did a Channel 9 interview about Mix recently. And Microsoft is going to be talking about more unannounced features of its "Mango" Windows Phone 7 update at the same show, he said. Perhaps Nokia will be demo'ing NFC running on a Windows Phone 7 Mango prototype?

(And remember: Nokia is not just another Microsoft partner. It is now Microsoft's premiere WP7 partner with special rights and privileges. Maybe one of the possible WP handset modifications from Nokia will have to do with NFC....)

Amid all this speculation, there's a more pressing question. Will users who've already bought Windows Phone 7 phones be able to get NFC support on their devices? Because NFC requires support at the chip level, I'd say the answer is no.

Update: As the Windows for Devices folks note (thanks, @gadgetsense), there could be a way to add NFC support via Bluetooth to older  WP7 devices at some point. But phone vendors want to sell new phones, not "fix" old ones, so I'm betting it won't be a commonly deployed solution if and when it becomes available.

So if you're Microsoft, do you talk up NFC support, knowing that doing so could result in users postponing WP7 purchase plans? Or do you let Nokia talk up NFC, so as to entice users to wait for the first Nokia WP7s? If I were a betting woman, I'd say the Softies will take Door No. 2. That still won't make current WP7 users who may be interested in NFC very happy, but it's probably the lesser of two evils....

Topics: Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia, Operating Systems, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Bring it!

    There needs to be more hardware features to FUTURE windows phones. i'm not gonna have this phone forever. I'm really excited to see what is in store for when I get to upgrade.
  • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

    I'll take a WP7 device with out NFC. I just don't trust the technology yet. I remember a major credit card had NFC as well as a few gas stations that tried it. Don't see it around anymore.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

      @Loverock Davidson
      I don't think you're talking about NFC. Those are just other contactless RFID technologies that do similar things but are not as standardized. MasterCard has PayPass and it actually has a noticeable presence and Visa has PayWave (which I haven't see very often). There isn't really any reason to mistrust it as havin NFC on your phone does not mean that you have to use it or link it to any sort of information. And unless someone takes your phone from you, the information will not be mishandled. It all comes down to trusting the retailer, which is something you can decide by yourself
  • Here is why Windows Phone 7 is so rotten

    Windows Phone 7 is still missing the basic things:

    It can't tether.
    Bluetooth file transfer is inoperable
    Can't connect to hidden Wi-Fi networks
    Can't connect to a static IP address
    Can't set a custom ringtone
    Can't set a secure password
    No universal inbox
    No 'Weekly View' available in its calendar

    The list goes on and on and on. One of the biggest shortcomings is the lack of internet 'sockets', which prevents VoIP or video chat from working on Windows Phone 7. Lack of sockets is also the reason why WP7 has no real-time multiplayer games. The network ability of the phone can't handle it.

    But Microsoft is going to leave all these things unfixed, and try to get NFC working instead, because it sees NFC as a money maker.
    • Wow nice way to completely make stuff up!

      tethering is left totally to the oem+carrier. samsung WP can do it. I'll wait for your link to your source where you found that the version of WP that adds NFC doesnt also have custom ringtone support, socket support, hidden wifi support, etc. to back up your childishly ridiculous claim that they are leaving these things unfixed so they can get NFC working instead...
      Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?


      I would be absolutely shocked (translation: disappointed) if we don't see sockets and local database support announced at Mix.
    • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

      @zndac @Johnny Vegas

      I think he got all his information here...
    • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

      @zndac If I enter pub and ask people then almost:
      No one knows what is tethering.
      Few teenagers will cope with BT music transfers.
      No one even know that hidden Wifi is possible.
      No one knows what is (static) IP.
      Few tennagers will cope with custom ringtones.
      Very few people know that password can be insecure.
      Someone will want mix work and personal mails.
      Someone will want weekly view.
      No one will know what internet sockets are.

      Most of such things are under WP7 (by design) simplified UI shell, its only about adding "Advanced..." buttons to settings, ALL of this features are in WinCE kernel, many years ago, even before frst iPhone appeared. MS *will* open APIs for this slowly - with security by design. Sure. Period.

      Sure. I had personally bought Android device to play with also, but 9 of 10 users will be happy without any "Advanced..." buttons at all.

      KISS. Keep It Simple and Stupid :-)
      • Worked for apple, after all!


        Apple... where you rarely GET an "Advanced..." button, because you don't *need* one, in their minds.
    • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

      @zndac <br>My Samsung Focus has Weekly View and so does my HD7. So you are just trying to spread FUD and also most of the stuff Microsoft already published, so whats your point? You are proven one more time as official troll of ZDNET Talk Backs. Heck Linux Geek and DonnieBoy sound more educated than you when it comes to any Microsoft product.
      Ram U
      • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?


        Could you please tell me how to get to the weekly view on my Focus? That is something I just cannot seem to find. I'm not being sarcastic either, I would appreciate it.
  • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

    I don't really care about NFC at this point...I just want an update for the Samsung Focus memory issue...MS still hasn't rolled out any updates..why start speculating on future features when they can't support existing customers now....
  • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

    @shawn love my Sprint HTC Arrive WP7 no problems at all. :) love the copy and paste and multitask features on this phone.
  • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

    Mary Jo, I obliquely referred to this article in a tweet. Thought you might be interested in case you've missed it. NY Times, Thurs. March 24, 2011, Business Day, pg. B1, "Swiping Is the Easy Part" by Bernard and Miller
  • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

    Never, it's DOA.
  • Message has been deleted.

    Message has been deleted.
  • RE: Windows Phone 7: Who will get NFC when?

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