I admit it: I’m really curious to see how NFC technologies are adopted by various vendors and developers. To date, however, the integration has been poor and what adoption there has been tends to focus on payment solutions. Payment solutions scare the crap out of me because they increase the reasons attackers have to compromise my phone: it’s bad enough they want my personal information; I don’t want them after my digital wallet as well!
RIM has a neat bit of technology they’ve recently released, which leverages the NFC functionality in their new phones with Bluetooth pairing systems. Specifically, it enables rapid syncing between phones and audio-output devices (i.e., speakers). While the product is pretty “meh” as released today, it could be pretty exciting were vehicle manufacturers and speaker manufacturers to generally integrate NFC-pairing capabilities with their respective products. It’s presently a pain to listen to music stored on a mobile through vehicle speakers (using Bluetooth) or a friend’s speakers in their home. RIM has offered a partial solution to the Bluetooth pairing problem; now it’s up to the larger ecosystems to actually integrate RIM’s idea in a omnipresent and highly functional way.
From The Telecom Blog we learn that RIM has acquired Paratek Microwave Inc. Paratek is:
a company whose adaptive radio-frequency technology improves mobile-handset call quality and battery life. It’s believed that RIM may leverage this acquisition to improve the overall performance of its next generation BlackBerry smartphones.
General Partner of Polaris Venture Partners Alan Spoon believes RIM would benefit immensely by integrating Paratek’s game changer technology into mobile phones. He says the technology allows mobile devices to upload and download large amounts of data faster, making for longer battery life, which coupled with Paratek’s innovative design, leads to a small form factor. More importantly, the Tunable RF reduces dropped calls and allowing reliable data flow across multiple frequency bands, thereby providing an overall enhanced mobile user experience.
One of the reasons that I left behind my Window Phone 7 was its incredibly poor reception. It’s the only smartphone that I’ve owned that regularly dropped calls and made hearing calls a challenge. The iPhone that I used previously was acceptable, but not great: when I had to make, or receive, an important call I found a landline.
I don’t have to find landlines with my 9900. The call quality is terrific. While call quality isn’t something I really would have cared about a few year back - I rarely called people or received calls, and when I did they were usually personal in nature - I do care today because of the various professional calls I make on a daily basis. While the Blackberry isn’t as fun to play on it’s a far more reliable professional tool.
Not having to hunt down a landline saves me a ton of time, and I’m incredibly pleased to see that RIM cares enough about further improving call and signal quality that they are snapping up companies who can bring advantages to their smartphone environment.