New BlackBerry 7 models to have 'mobile wallet' features

Research in Motion also unveils enterprise management plans

Research and Motion has announced two smart phone models -- the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 – incorporating near field communications (NFC) technology that enables the handsets to be used as a contactless credit card or electronic tag reader.

NFC technology creates a magnetic induction field that enables data sharing between devices that are not more than about eight inches apart. NFC equipped phones also can be also used as a radio-frequency identification tag or to swap information with another radio-frequency control-enabled device.

NFC is also considered the transport mechanism of a emerging set of  “mobile wallet” functions for which Google and Apple are also reported to be developing applications.

The new RIM smart phones are the first to run on the BlackBerry 7 operating system, which supports voice-activated search and faster graphics rendering. The devices provide support for 4G networks, according to RIM, which is holding its annual BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Fla., the week of May 2.

The company also announced plans for a system targeting government and business customers for managing and securing mobile devices across the enterprise. The “multi-platform BlackBerry Enterprise Solution” couples the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for managing BlackBerry devices with technology from RIM’s pending acquisition of Ubitexx, a developer of mobile device management systems.

The forthcoming system would enable enterprise managers to control devices running either the Android or Apple’s iOS smart phone operating systems from a single Web-based console, according to RIM.

IT administrators would be able to activate the devices over the air as well as distribute software, lock or wipe devices, and enforce security policies and passwords, according to RIM.

The company also announced a related technology, which it calls BlackBerry Balance, that would allow enterprise managers to create policies that would prevent work information from being copied over on employees’ personal e-mail or social media accounts.

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