Smartphone maker HTC has committed to launching its first NFC phone, the HTC Stunning, which will debut in China sometime later this year. The phone will be an 4-inch, Android-based device, and will support bank card network China UnionPay’s mobile payment standard.
This will enable the phone to perform mobile payments at point-of-sale, using the contactless technology known as NFC, or “near field communication.”
NFC, for those unfamiliar, is a short-range, high-frequency wireless technology, which is now being used as the backbone in both current and forthcoming mobile payment and mobile wallet services, such as those from mobile operators (e.g., Isis), tech companies (e.g., Google Wallet) and credit card providers (e.g. Visa, MasterCard, etc.).
In order to work, phones have to either come equipped with a special NFC chip, like the one found in Samsung’s Nexus S, or they can be made NFC-enabled through the use of stickers or specialized cases, like those from DeviceFidelity.
While some smartphone OEMs, like Nokia, for example, have included NFC in their handsets for years, others are just now jumping on the trend, thanks in a large part to the NFC initiatives mentioned above, as well as support from nearly all major players, from banks to carriers to mobile operating system makers, like Google’s Android and RIM’s BlackBerry.
While it has been rumored that HTC would soon introduce an NFC-based handset, this news now (reportedly) confirms it. The news was first published by Focus Taiwan and China Daily, citing statements made by Chai Hongfeng, Executive Vice-President of China UnionPay at a news conference.
“Mobile phone users no longer have to bring their bank cards in the future because their smartphones can provide the same function,” Hongfeng said.
China Daily also reports that the mobile payment handset has been in development for over a year. There is no exact launch date for the phone, but it should arrive sometime in September.