Nokia Conspicuous By Its Absence From Isis Handsets Announcement

Analyst Blog

Sept. 28, 2011, 8:41 a.m.
John Devlin, Practice Director

Given the length of Nokia's involvement ​in developing and launching NFC - for the first few years the ONLY NFC phones were Nokia phones - it was highly notable to me that Nokia was just about the only multi-device OEM missing from Isis' announcement this week.

Here it is incase you missed it: http://news.paywithisis.com/2011/09/27/manufacturers-add-support/

In brief this focused on a level of commitment gathered from various device manufacturers, specifically: HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, RIM, Samsung Mobile, Sony Ericsson. All of these OEMs have agreed to implement NFC technology and standards that will form part of Isis commercial offering.

Interestingly, the announcement also included Device Fidelity, who's microSD card-based solution be offered to Isis customers in order to offer the service to those with (suitable) legacy devices.

This all reinforces my viewpoint that markets, such as the US, will have NFC provisioned almost solely by smartphones. Regarding those that have signed up, they are almost exclusivelyAndroid licensees. The primary exception to this is RIM, which is well entrenched within the US market and has been notably active of late with NFC in five new handsets.

Interestingly, Samsung and HTC are alsoprimaryWindows PhoneOEMs- but I will be writing more about this separately.

And this leads back to my first point - where was Nokia? Personally I do not read too much into the fact that it was absent - I see this as more of a reflection of Nokia's standing in the North American market than anything else. It continues to lack good relationships and distribution with the US MNOs and as such it will not be at the front of the queue when a US MNO JV (as Isis is) is signing up manufacturers.

Looking at the broaderopportunity, I see good things for Nokia as it builds closer relationships with MNOs in other countries - in effect being their new best friend in the face of mounting competition between MNOs, Apple and Google, for customer ownership. Its most recent steps for basic NFC inclusion in its Symbian handset reinforces this point and I expect to see more with the next generation of Windows Phones.