Research in Motion, makers of Blackberry smartphones, is now actively developing NFC-enabled (Near Field Communications) devices, according to news from NFC-tracking site, NearFieldCommunicationsWorld, which spotted a job posting for an NFC specialist.
This news comes as no surprise to industry watchers – both Apple and Google have been developing phones and systems with NFC support as of late, and RIM has publicly announced its plans to do so, too. If anything, this latest news only further proves the trend: NFC is finally happening.
Near Field Communications, or NFC, has yet to make major inroads here in the U.S., but several new initiatives along with concurrent advancements in mobile smartphone technology will soon change that.
Earlier this month, three of the U.S.’s major carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon announced a new mobile payments service called Isis, which will be released over the next 18 months in key markets. Only one day prior, Google CEO Eric Schmidt had also announced support for NFC in an upcoming version of Android, the company’s mobile operating system (code-name “Gingerbread.”) Apple, too, has been quietly working on NFC, having hired a well-known NFC expert, Benjamin Vigier, back in August and has filed several related patents as well. Meanwhile, Visa launched payWave, an NFC-enabling technology for iPhones (by way of a special case) which it then introduced to commuters in New York, riding buses, subways, trains or taxis. A startup called Bling Nation is busy trying to close the gap between smartphone owners and everyone else with its NFC-enabled “Bling Tags” (stickers) for phones which work with an NFC reader.
RIM’s NFC Job Post
As for RIM, the job posting reads:
The successful candidate will be responsible for investigating complex system level issues raised during IOT Testing for Near Field Communication software features supported on RIM’s BlackBerry handhelds. Responsibilities involve setting up and maintaining the IOT test environment, developing test cases and test scripts, as well as writing and carrying out NFC IOT test plans and NFC pre-certification test plans.
The successful candidate will troubleshoot test environments, analyze logs, communicate the root cause of test case failures across development teams and drive issues to resolutions, working directly with feature developers to correct software failures related to the NFC Radio software of RIM’s BlackBerry handhelds. He/she will also drive the specification of new test requirements in order to increase the effectiveness of our RIM’s internal IOT test coverage and participate into the development of automated test frameworks.
To decode the acronyms, “IOT” means “Internet of Things,” a topic we’ve covered extensively here at ReadWriteWeb. In short, the Internet of Things refers to a network of everyday objects, all connected to the Internet. It can include everything from household objects, like digital picture frames, to the house itself, and networks of sensors or RFID tags, to social objects, like an Internet-connected tennis racquet or tombstone.
UPDATE: Our mistake, that’s not what IOT means in this instance. See first comment.
In RIM’s case, earlier statements from co-chief executive Jim Balsillie, confirmed the company is focused on building this technology into its mobile devices. “We’d be fools not to have it in the near term,” Balsillie said. “And we’re not fools.”