NFC already supported in Windows Phone 7.5 [Updated]

Near field communication (NFC) is certainly one of the bigger technologies to come out in mobile phones in the last year, but its mainstream appeal won't become evident till 2012. Whether or not Windows Phone currently supports it though has not been well understood. While Microsoft (and Nokia) have made it  clear that NFC is on their roadmap, we don't know if if and when that will happen.

Now in an interview with TechRadar, Will Coleman, developer evangelist and product manager at Microsoft UK, has stated that our current OS does have NFC on board but no OEM has added it to their hardware yet:

"As far as I'm aware, NFC is supported by [Windows Phone], but needs to be enabled by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). So, if any OEM wants to enable it, that can be done by all means. Think it's about just about timing, in the not too distant future there are some exciting things that will be coming through with NFC from Microsoft."

That is certainly interesting. We can of course speculate why no one has added NFC including lack of wide-spread support, Microsoft has yet to roll out any supporting services and cost-reduction in devices. Of course to our enthusiasts out there, no reason would be satisfactory.

Even Keith Varty, head of apps and partnerships for Nokia has chimed in on the matter:

"NFC isn't an if, it's a when, it will happen. Obviously there's no NFC on our launch devices, so it's difficult to comment too much on that, but the main divisions between secure and non-secure [NFC] mean there's bags of opportunity for the technology [on our phones] especially with so many operators launching services. We need to get a [Windows Phone] device into the marketplace with NFC capabilities, and when we do we can really start to showcase our services".

For some of us, the benefit of NFC is a bit weak right now without any official services to support--we don't have a Google Wallet and 'beaming' still looks like a ways off. But we think the next round for Nokia and other OEMs should finally see NFC being added and used to a significant degree.

Updated: There once again looks to be some confusion around this issue and we're now being told that NFC is not currently supported in Windows Phone 7.5 but of course that it is coming in 2012--obviously there is some nitty-gritty tech bits that are being glossed over, but Microsoft is taking the line that it is not currently on board in any form. Take that as you will. From Microsoft:

"While Near Field Communications is not currently supported on Windows Phone 7.5, it is coming. We expect NFC-enabled Windows Phone devices to ship within the next year."

Source: TechRadar; via Windows Phone Metro; Thanks, Steven S, for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • But there is no API for NFC!
  • Seeing how no OEM has added it to their devices yet then having a API wouldn't matter much.    I think NFC isn't used as much as some of the more techie blogs/sites make it sound like.
  • But there is no API for NFC!
    How do you know? LG had the camera API for their augmented reality apps, HTC had the compass API for their compass app--all of this was way, way before we even heard about Mango and those APIs being made available. OEMs have deep access to the OS and ability to do things software devs don't. Sure, the NFC APIs might not exist but somethingn tells me if the OS was built with support, they had to have some APIs with it--after all, how would Microsoft know it actually worked?
  • i think titan has nfc chip
  • Techies Techies Techies. This technology is for you right now lol and since yall are not that many, they won´t bother rolling it out...
  • Beaming? What do people really want with it. It's super slow, and there are better technologies out there. Google Wallet would be nice, but it does not seem like Google wants to help MS at all. Considering MS keeps charing licensing fees for Android (which they have a right to do) it is not surprising.
  • Beaming isn't out yet. Check the article. What do they want it for? I imagine people swapping Office docs, putting a picture from your phone to your TV (via Xbox), giving a friend a song, etc. are all viable options here.
  • Bluetooth and Infrared before it both failed to catch on as casual file transfer protocols. What makes NFC more special than those prior technologies? Is it easier, more secure, and/or more reliable? It would have to be otherwise it, too, will fail. I see its potential as a credit card replacement, but there are obvious drawbacks and significant security implications. I, for one, will not allow Google anywhere near my financials. I still remember the Palm commercial of some dude "beaming" some chick his contact informaton through the subway window. That still makes me laugh, but it sold lots of Palms!
  • Well, in Australia, the Commonwealth Bank launched Kaching, where you can make contactless payments using NFC. But I don't think they're going to support Windows Phone until there's a handset that has NFC!