Waterloo’s Research In Motion is partnering with Assa Abloy AB to have its next-gen BlackBerry roster include NFC-based key-card technology. Assa says the technology will be embedded into the smartphones, eliminating the need for physical access cards.
According to Assa, the forthcoming BlackBerry Bold and Curve models—to be released in “early 2012″—will feature this technology. Users will be able to swipe their phones in front of a door’s card reader much like an actual card.
While key-card functionality is the first usage of NFC in BlackBerrys, it is widely expected that mobile payments and time reports will be incorporated shortly after. Such is already the case in some countries.
The agreement with RIM is not exclusive, meaning Assa Abloy can and most likely will sell its technology to competing device makers.