Microsoft: NFC already supported in Windows Phone

Microsoft: NFC already supported in Windows Phone
Is Windows Phone hiding secret capabilities?

Microsoft has told TechRadar that its current Windows Phone 7.5 platform already supports Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, but no manufacturer has enabled it as yet.

Will Coleman, developer evangelist and product manager at Microsoft UK, told us that it was simply a matter of time before the technology was harnessed by manufacturers in Windows Phone devices:

"As far as I'm aware, NFC is supported by [Windows Phone], but needs to be enabled by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). So, if any OEM wants to enable it, that can be done by all means."

"I think it's just about timing; in the not too distant future there are some exciting things that will be coming through with NFC from Microsoft."

It's weird that Microsoft has enabled the technology, but phone manufacturers have been reticent to include it - but one likely scenario is that secure NFC, which can be used for payments, isn't implemented in the platform just yet.

It's coming...

Keith Varty, head of apps and partnerships for Nokia, echoes the idea that while Nokia didn't include NFC on the Lumia 800, it was merely a matter of development time, and the technology is set to play a big part in both company's futures:

"NFC isn't an if, it's a when, it will happen. Obviously there's no NFC on our launch devices, so it's difficult to comment too much on that, but the main divisions between secure and non-secure [NFC] mean there's bags of opportunity for the technology [on our phones] especially with so many operators launching services.

"We need to get a [Windows Phone] device into the marketplace with NFC capabilities, and when we do we can really start to showcase our services'.

Squirting to beaming

Microsoft is rumoured to be working on bringing NFC wallet technology to its platform in the future to compete with Google Wallet in the marketplace, but it seems that even before that comes to fruition non-secure connections, such as those to pair speakers or phones via Bluetooth, could be out very soon according to a tweet from rumour source @MS_Nerd.

This service will be called 'Beaming' according to the Tweet, which would be a direct swipe at Android Beam on Google's Ice Cream Sandwich - but whether the source can be believed remains to be seen.

And if you're interested in seeing what NFC tech can do in real life, check out TechRadar's jaunt to the Museum of London to see it in action:

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.