NFC development problems NXP/ Microsoft/RIM [Exclusive]Rumor
Posted by Seth PlanckSeptember 17th, 2011 at 3:39 PM Filed Under Latest News, Rumor
NFC development problems NXP/Microsoft/RIM [Exclusive]
Whispers have been getting louder all week about NXP Semiconductors, Microsoft and RIM. NFC is getting more pervasive and so are the rumors that echo around the halls of NFC Rumors HQ. There are whispers in corridors, the water cooler attracts a crowd and everything goes quiet if you enter a room. NXP, Microsoft and RIM have some issues on their hands and we have heard about them from some pretty direct sources. We have been sitting on these revelations for a few days because alone we didn’t feel they were strong enough for a post, but together they start to paint a picture of just how nascent NFC is, and how uncooperative it is acting with major software and hardware giants.
We called the problems BlackBerry was having with NFC over a month ago. We speculated that a major OS company would make an announcement that it was supporting NFC, but we didn’t hear about NXP until this last week. Want to know more? Of course you do, that’s why you clicked on this post.
NXP Android app has some severe issues
We have been aware of this issue since the Microsoft announcement earlier this week. What we know isn’t a lot but is interesting nonetheless. You probably already know that NXP used to be a part of Philips and you are probably also aware that along with a couple of partners, NXP invented the short range RFID protocol we like to call NFC in these parts. NXP has been labeled the “intel of NFC” and arguably no one has more experience or inner working knowledge of near field communications globally. However, NXP’s Android app has some serious flaws. Although NXP will get this issue sorted in good time, the current NXP app crashes a lot. There is a fundamental issue with the app that locks it up when initiating security. Have an Android app and know how to initiate security? Give it a try and see what happens. NXP are aware of this flaw and so is Google and they are working to fix it, but it isn’t just NXP who is having trouble with NFC.
RIM continues to struggle to get NFC up to par on BlackBerry devices
Ah, the good old NFC BlackBerry saga – or what we like to call NFCGate – continues. We are hearing that things are improving way up in Canada when it comes to NFC functionality on BlackBerry phones, but it still isn’t where it should be. We have a source who let us in on the first news that we broke way back on August 14th about the BlackBerry NFC issues and they have come through for us again. We can’t tell you who our sources are because that could compromise their positions and industry balance, but trust us when we tell you this doozy is coming from close to home. The BlackBerry team has managed to get the NFC to actually read multiple NFC tag types, which is a step in the right direction. But BlackBerry devices still can’t write NFC tags at all in any way.
We announced when we first broke this story that RIM had sold their new phones as NFC phones, listing the feature in the specifications for the phones as a means to get you to buy them. Many people bought the “NFC phones” only to find out that NFC had been locked out at the software level by their mobile network operators. We heard through the grape vine that many MNOs world over were not best pleased with the below standard NFC performance. This all came about with the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930, and at that time RIM hadn’t announced the BlackBerry Curve Touch “NFC phones.” So what do you think the company did when it announced two new smartphones to the fold knowing that the NFC wasn’t up to par? Yep, they announced them as NFC capable phones.
When BlackBerry phones finally get proper NFC capabilities, we will be the first to congratulate them but we can’t help thinking it is not that ethical to mislead their customers. We want to see RIM do well as they are one of the last bastions of North American phone producers outside of Apple, but we feel some transparency to consumers is required at this point. Come on, RIM – it is only fair and people will respect you for fessing up and give you time to fix NFC. Don’t brush it under the carpet as you will lose the confidence of your consumer base and that may be hard to gain back.
What Microsoft didn’t tell you about its NFC announcement for Windows 8
You will know by now that Microsoft worked with NXP to build the NFC and NDEF stacks for its Windows 8 NFC drivers. The exciting news hit early this week and since then, the NFC world has been giddy with excitement as Microsoft is throwing its considerable weight behind NFC validates the protocol’s future. We know (and yes we say “we know”) that Microsoft is building its own NFC mobile wallet that will come to market next year. However, that is not the NFC rumor we are concentrating on today as we have something far more timely.
What Microsoft shared about its NFC support in Windows 8 was very positive and it certainly made people more aware of NFC and we love that. But – and this is a big but – what they didn’t share is where we can fill in some details. The grape vine is singing and the lyrics are suggesting that the NFC capabilities are not as well rounded as industry insiders would have hoped for. We are not sure whether it’s a matter of emulation, since we know it has peer-to-peer, or whether it cannot yet support payments. But word is there are some pretty heavy hitting features missing. The good news is this – on this rumor, “Big M” has plenty of time to get its NFC house in order, and by the time Windows 8 actually launches. Again, like our other NFC rumors today, they come from trusted sources but do bear in mind things can change.