Microsoft to bring NFC to Windows Phone

Near-field Communication seems like next big thing in mobile right now, with Google implementing it in Gingerbread, and rumors of Apple to integrate it already floating around.

Microsoft is now joining the party with Windows Phone 7, according to Bloomberg today, in an article saying that Microsoft is planning on including mobile payments in "Next Windows Phone." Bloomberg says that "users would be able to pay for items in stores by bumping a Windows Phone device against a compatible cash register." 

Apparently, Microsoft is pinned to get support NFC from Nokia as part of their Windows Phone partnership deal. Nokia has already announced that NFC will be a "standard feature" this year in its line up of Symbian based smartphones. Bloomberg also points out that Microsoft actually holds 14 patents already for NFC, with the latest of these being given to the software giant on March 22.

It's unclear if the "next version" of Windows Phone implies the new generation of handsets that may be released with "Mango" or a future update, potentially "Windows Phone 8." Either way, NFC could be another feature in Microsoft's arsenal against Google's Android. It's worth noting that Google's current "flagship" phone -- the Nexus S -- has built in NFC support, though uptake for the protocol has been slow.

Right now, Microsoft is in the middle of rolling out Windows Phone 7's first "major" update -- NoDo -- to handsets across the world, which brings new features such as Copy & Paste to the platform. If you haven't got NoDo, check out our upgrade guide

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19 Comments

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When you use NFC on a phone is it pin protected or is it just a case of swiping a phone?
If it isn't pin protected, it means the whole chip n pin thing in the U.K is pointless as we are going back to the old way of just being able to swipe to pay for things.

I've also read that NFC payment can/might be limited to a certain amount on a phone eg: £15-£20 per transaction, for example you can't nick someones phone and then walk of and buy a new TV at £500.

If this is the case, that would be identical to current contactless credit/debit cards like Visa payWave - same limit (£15) and no PIN needed. Hardly a big deal.

The most dangerous thing about such contractless payments is delay in account updates (unlike normal payment which are reflected immediately, contractless ones have a delay of 1-2 days).

joemailey said,
When you use NFC on a phone is it pin protected or is it just a case of swiping a phone?
If it isn't pin protected, it means the whole chip n pin thing in the U.K is pointless as we are going back to the old way of just being able to swipe to pay for things.

I've also read that NFC payment can/might be limited to a certain amount on a phone eg: £15-£20 per transaction, for example you can't nick someones phone and then walk of and buy a new TV at £500.

You won't have to nick anybody's phone. Remeber Firesheep add-on that spoofs user/password from any PC connected with wi-fi near you ? Well, NFCsheep in in the making.

joemailey said,
I've also read that NFC payment can/might be limited to a certain amount on a phone eg: £15-£20 per transaction, for example you can't nick someones phone and then walk of and buy a new TV at £500.

I'm pretty sure that'll be the case, especially as the limitation is in use already in othe NFC payment implementations, like contactless debit cards. IIRC, the contactless card payment limit is £10 (at least with Barclays it is)

alexalex said,

You won't have to nick anybody's phone. Remeber Firesheep add-on that spoofs user/password from any PC connected with wi-fi near you ? Well, NFCsheep in in the making.

Firesheep was totally dependent on the user sending out plain text, non-encrypted traffic over the air. If plucking the bits out of the air was so easy the RFID systems used by most of the industrial world for access control would no longer be in use.

geoken said,

Firesheep was totally dependent on the user sending out plain text, non-encrypted traffic over the air. If plucking the bits out of the air was so easy the RFID systems used by most of the industrial world for access control would no longer be in use.

RFIDs where hacked long time ago. A since when poor security terminated usage of a product (see Windows OS) ?

day2die said,

This will give identity thief a whole new dimension.

+1
You will be able to go into a store, buy goods, and hack a bystander's phone to pay for the goods.

Co_Co said,
am i the only person who doesn't want my phone to be a credit card?

Are you assuming you will be forced to use it? Won't be able to disable it? Or have some other phobia about scary technology?

Co_Co said,
am i the only person who doesn't want my phone to be a credit card?

Nope, you're not alone but its gonna happen. I'm guessing they will make this feature on/off as you desire. However, what I do like about how Microsoft is implementing this is that you bump the phone and terminal instead of just hovering your phone near the terminal.

I don't get why people think this will be a security risk? I'd think the GPS equipped phone I'm carrying around is orders of magnitude more secure than some plastic card.

jimmyfal said,
Thanks for making me go to Google to find out what NFC is... Who, what, where, when, and why... remember?

+1 One of the first things they teach you in school; yet lost on Neowin...

Great, good to see they are moving fast to catch up to the competition. I'm starting to believe they really understand that they need to BRING IT to catch and surpass the competition.

I don't know, one update of note ("NoDo") in six months, with none on the horizon until late in the year if all goes well?