Nokia Takes Microsoft in a New Direction

Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) next Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone will be NFC-enabled and is expected to source the technology from French chipmaker Inside Secure.

The Finland-based phone maker’s low-cost Lumia 610, based on Windows Phone 7.5, is expected to be released in the third quarter and will first be sold in Europe by France Telecom’s Orange. Nokia hopes to eventually sell the phone through operators globally. A non-NFC version is also expected to be launched this month in Asia and Europe for the unsubsidized price of 200 euros ($263.79).

The NFC, or near-field communication, technology will let the phone support payment through SIM cards and enable tag reading and peer-to-peer communication. MasterCard (NYSE:MA) and Visa (NYSE:V) have certified the device to run their respective contactless payment applications.

Inside Secure had earlier supplied NFC chips to Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) for BlackBerry handsets and to the smaller phone manufacturer, Sonim Technologies. Competitor NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) supplies to more than 130 phones and tablets on the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform. Six of Nokia’s Symbian phones and one MeeGo handset also use NXP chips.

However, Inside Secure’s system is more adaptable to the Microsoft platform, and hence made sense for use in the Lumia 610. Windows Phone 8 is expected to come with the NFC technology built into the platform by Microsoft.