Update: We have since had confirmation from three independent sources that the device will launch in Monaco at 1pm GMT.
Microsoft had teased NFC support in its Windows Phone OS but until recently it had been a pipe dream. Nokia and ZTE had previously been linked with the release of an NFC-powered Windows Phone handset but today the Finnish mobile giant showed its hand, unveiling the Nokia Lumia 610 NFC, its first device to feature the contactless technology.
Nokia posted a new video on its official YouTube account before quickly setting it to private. However, YouTube user TheGadgetBuff (via wpsauce.com) managed to upload a slightly choppy version of the video (embedded below).
Nokia pushed the advantages of the contactless technology in its video, including the activating of NFC-enabled tags by tapping on them to open a webpage, connecting to supported wireless Bluetooth speakers and also the inclusion of support for Mastercard’s PayPass technology, allowing users to tap to make payments using their Nokia device.
Judging by the video, it also appears that UK mobile operator Orange will be one of the first carriers to offer the handset, which means the Nokia 610 NFC is set to launch in Europe, with the UK (and maybe France) almost certain to see it first (similar to the launch of the Lumia 800).
Nokia France’s Comms Manager Xavier des Horts also tweeted the following image, which all but confirms the device will launch later today:
Microsoft had previously outlined plans to support NFC, with its Windows Phone chief Andy Lees remarking that the company was working to incorporate the technology into its platform. The company then issued a statement in December to say that NFC-enabled devices would ship in 2012:
“While NFC 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.”
It’s interesting to see Nokia incorporate NFC into its budget handsets over its more powerful Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 smartphones. That isn’t to say that both devices won’t see the technology in the future.
We have reached out to Nokia for comment on its new NFC-enabled model, we will update the article should we receive a response. In the meantime, you can view our hands-on with the non-NFC model of the smartphone, here.