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Nokia enlists Angry Birds for NFC drive

NFC enabled version of game will headline Symbian upgrade, to activate swipe-based applications in C7 phone


Published: 3 May, 2011

READ MORE: Finland | Nokia | Games | NFC | Symbian

Nokia's Symbian operating system is becoming more interesting in its death throes than it has been for some time. The latest in a spate of enhancements geared heavily to the firm's emerging market strengths is broadening NFC capabilities to support mobile payments.

The company has recruited the authors of the famous Angry Birds mobile game, according to Bloomberg, to help with a Symbian upgrade that will activate NFC in the C7 smartphone, and provide a specialized version of the game. Although Nokia has been firmly committed to NFC for two years, and once promised to have it in every handset this year, the C7 is its first mass market handset to incorporate the swipe-based technology. The phone is on sale in many markets, including the US, where it is branded the T-Mobile Astound.

Sixten Sandstroem, the Nokia executive responsible for NFC partnerships, said: "The C7 is just the beginning.We want to create an open ecosystem which means we will partner with trusted service managers, credit cards, everyone." This indicates a new direction for Nokia, in the wake of its Microsoft partnership - leveraging its huge installed base to push mobile services and underlying, OS-neutral technologies. Sandstroem stressed that NFC is not just about payments, but any application that involves collecting or exchanging data by swiping a handset - such as swapping business card details. NXP, a premier manufacturer of NFC chips, believes 70m devices will ship this year with the technology, rising to 300m in 2013.

Angry Birds creator Rovio Mobile has joined the Nokia partnership program and will release an NFC-enabled release of its hit game for the C7. 'Angry Birds Magic' will give players 20 additional screens if they find other NFC-equipped players and tap handsets with them, to unlock the new levels. "We're going to use the power of our brand to maybe bring NFC to a wider user base so people realize what the technology is," Matthew Wilson, a Rovio marketing manager, told Bloomberg.

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