One of the technologically-forward feature of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the 9930 series devices is the near field communications, or NFC, support on the slim and stylish devices. However, we’ve learned that although the hardware will be in existence for all Bold 9900 and 9930 devices sold, NFC software support will not be enabled on all devices, depending on what carrier you choose. The latest report shows that the GSM edition of the Bold 9900 in Canada are all launched with NFC support, but the 9930 CDMA models lack software support for the technology despite those devices having the required hardware.
According to RIM, the decision to enable or not enable NFC support lies with the carriers, and the company is working with its carrier partners to deliver NFC support at appropriate times: “RIM believes that NFC is an exciting technology that will enable many new capabilities, and we are aligning with our partners in supporting the overall NFC ecosystem by investing in NFC in our products. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 series are the first to be NFC ready, and we are working closely with carrier partners on their roll out plans for NFC.”
Given that NFC chip and software support without having a payment mechanism and local merchant support may mean little if you want to carry around your smartphone as a digital wallet, it makes sense. Perhaps, it’s even wise to downplay NFC support until there is actually merchandise that subscribers can actually purchase and merchants that will accept NFC-enabled forms of digital payment. That said, carriers, banks, and financial institutions are all vying for the smartphone payment market so carriers may be blocking NFC support until they can come up with a solution for processing payment that they can profit from, rather than just ubiquitously enabling the technology so that a rival bank can leverage that technology and bypass them entirely.
It looks like at this time the Verizon Wireless model of the BlackBerry Bold 9930 will lack NFC support. It’s unclear if Sprint will enable this feature on their BlackBerry Bold 9930, but given that carrier has been relatively pro-active with Google and NFC support on the Nexus S 4G, the Bold 9930 from Sprint may have NFC enabled at some point.