RIM, manufacturer of the popular BlackBerry smartphone range, is actively looking for a interoperability specialist to join its ranks by posting a job listing for an individual who can can help develop future handsets that will support Near Field Communications (NFC), opening the door to mobile payments and wireless authentication.
The job posting comes soon after RIM CEO Jim Balsillie was quoted saying that the the company would “be fools not to have it in the near term… and we’re not fools”, a clear statement that RIM has definite plans to stay current in the smartphone market and provide features that its competitors (namely Google and Apple) that have already announced plans for or are expected to incorporate into future products.
NFC is not a new technology, it has successfully been employed by travel authorities for public-transport ticketing and credit cards. Just last week, Coca Cola announced that it was partnering with European payments specialist PingPing to support NFC payments in its vending machines.
Balsillie has spoken of his view that manufacturers and network operators should align with the banks for NFC payments, instead of utilising third-party services. This would lead us to believe RIM would actively seek deals with banks to provide direct authentication for payments, something that may add to its corporate appeal.
Google recently announced that its Android operating system would support NFC, providing the platform for manufacturers and app developers to utilize the technology. Whilst it hasn’t confirmed it believes NFC authentication should lie with banks or third-party companies, opening the NFC layer in its OS will surely leave the choice up to the manufacturer or developer.