Isis, which is a collaborative effort by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to push NFC-based payments on smartphones, has announced partnerships with several smartphone makers. RIM, Motorola Mobility, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG and HTC have all pledged support for Isis. This means all the aforementioned companies will create mobile devices that carry NFC chips. These phones will conform to the technical standards and business practices of Isis.
All of the parties involved are betting on NFC payments. The idea behind the technology is simple enough to understand. Instead of paying with cash or a credit card, customers will simply use their NFC-enabled smartphone to complete transactions in stores. The payment is made by bringing the phone within close proximity of an NFC-enabled terminal.
One potential barrier to NFC payments dealt with the number phones that supported the technology. Most phones these days don’t ship with NFC chips and most U.S. carriers require customers to wait close to two years before upgrading their phones. To remedy this problem, Isis has enlisted the help of DeviceFidelity. DeviceFidelity specializes in making phones NFC-compatible by using plug-and-play solutions such as a microSD card.
We should begin to see Isis in the wild sometime in 2012.