ZTE to put NFC on upcoming smartphones and feature phones

ZTE is one of a number of handset manufacturers and operators announcing NFC devices and services

Chinese phone maker ZTE plans to include NFC (Near-Field Communications) chips in its smartphones and feature phones, it said on Wednesday at Mobile World Congress.

The company said that some of its Android-based smartphones will be equipped with NFC, and that its first NFC handsets will be available in the second quarter. ZTE has signed a deal with NXP Semiconductors to provide the necessary technology, it said.

Equipped with an NFC-capable phone, users will be able to make secure payments, mobile transactions and pay for public transport, according to ZTE. That is, of course, as long as someone is offering those NFC services.

There has been a growing interest in NFC lately, in part thanks to the fact that software drivers for some NFC functions have been integrated into version 2.3 of Android.

Elsewhere at Mobile World Congress, Samsung announced that it will put NFC on its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S II. The phone will also come in a version without integrated NFC, which will allow network operators to distribute SIM cards with NFC integrated instead, if they wish. That's a model that network operator Orange is a proponent of.

This week also saw Deutsche Telekom announce plans to launch mobile wallet services based on NFC. The roll-out will start this year in Germany and Poland, and continue in 2012 in the U.S., the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, according to a statement.

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Tags consumer electronicssmartphonesPhonesZTEAndroidPhone applicationsComponentsNXP SemiconductorsMobile handsetsMWC

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