Today Microsoft admitted that its Windows Phone mobile platform does in fact not support near field communication (NFC), but did reveal that the capability would be released in the future.
The company had previously made statements that indicated that the function was part of the Windows Phone firmware, but that it required OEM unlocking: “As far as I’m aware, NFC is supported by [Wp7], but needs to be enabled by the OEM.” That statement was patently false.
However, the company’s new statement on the issue should give hope to Windows Phone fans, as NFC support appears to be something of the near future: “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.”
Of course the admission that the feature is not currently supported, and perhaps should not be expected until Windows Phone 8, codenamed Apollo, comes out will only add fuel to the idea that Windows Phone is simply too feature-incomplete to compete with mobile offerings from Google. Microsoft can perhaps take some relaxation from the fact that NFC has yet to catch on with the mass market, and so its relative slowness with the capability might be a non-issue.
That aside, it’s surprising to see a company as large as Microsoft so greatly mishandle this situation. It’s rare that such a bald retraction is required from any company of Microsoft’s size.