Many of the world's largest smartphone makers have agreed to make NFC (Near Field Communications) smartphones that will work over the American Isis mobile wallet network.
Isis, a venture of AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, announced the agreement on Tuesday. Isis listed the carriers that will introduce NFC-ready devices using its standards for NFC and related technology: HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, Research in Motion, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
Notably missing from the list are Apple and its iPhone and Nokia, which is already building NFC phones and moving to the Windows Phone operating system.
NFC technology provides short-range radio communications between a phone enabled with an NFC chip and an NFC payment terminal - a similar style technology to Transport for London's Oyster payment system. Google last week announced Google Wallet using the Nexus S 4G phone from Sprint, which can communicate via NFC to MasterCard PayPass payment terminals (see photo).
Isis also said that DeviceFidelity has agreed to add NFC functions to smartphones that are not NFC-ready to ensure a wide range of NFC devices that can work with Isis. That could include some smartphones already purchased by consumers.
Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile, said in a statement that the key to widespread adoption of mobile commerce is the broad availability of NFC-ready handsets.
Isis is planning to roll out mobile wallet trial projects in Salt Lake City and Austin in the first half of 2012.