BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) today announced yet another way BlackBerry smartphones will employ Near Field Communications (NFC) in the future to wirelessly share data: BlackBerry "Tag."
The BlackBerry Tag service will allow BlackBerry smartphone owners with NFC-enabled devices to tap their handhelds together to share images, contact information, documents, website URLs and even add new BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) contacts, via NFC. And it's expected to be rolled out to compatible BlackBerry 7 smartphones via an OS update, though RIM did not specify when exactly the Tag update will become available.
NFC is a short range wireless technology that's garnered a lot of attention in recent days, mostly due to the technology's potential as a wireless mobile payments method.
Google recently unveiled its NFC-based Google Wallet payment service along with MasterCard, Citi and a handful of U.S. retailers. Though Google Wallet is only currently available on the Android mobile platform--and for just one handheld, the Samsung Nexus S--it could soon make its way to additional mobile platforms, including RIM's BlackBerry OS, in the form of a Google Wallet application. RIM's BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, one of two available BlackBerry smartphones that supports NFC--along with the Curve 9350/9360/9370--has already been approved by MasterCard for use with its mobile payments systems.
RIM clearly sees a lot of potential in NFC. The Canadian company recently announced along with HID Global, a provider of secure physical access cards and readers, that NFC-enabled BlackBerrys could soon replace physical access cards.
However, even though RIM has released a handful of BlackBerry smartphones that support NFC, no U.S. carriers have enable the functionality as of yet. NFC will presumably be activated via future software updates, as more NFC-based services become available.
RIM also said that it will release a set of developer APIs for BlackBerry Tag that will allow software developers to incorporate "tap to share" features and functionality in their applications.
Check out the video below for a quick look at how NFC works on RIM's BlackBerry Bold 9900.
NFC on the BlackBerry Bold 9900