In the first major move since Apple announced that the iPhone 5 would be skipping out on mobile payments, MasterCard has introduced a software development kit to turn any NFC enabled Android or Blackberry Smartphone into a mobile wallet.
The SDK will allow for issuers, mobile network operators, and third party developers to integrate and also build new applications for MasterCard's Mobile PayPass app. MasterCard has said that more than 70 phones are compatible with their PayPass program.
If this move by MasterCard is a symbol of things to come, it will prove that NFC will continue to move forward, even without Apple's support. It also quells the fear that companies might be unwilling to invest into NFC programs after the loss of Apple's massive base.
This is a bold move by MasterCard that will work to their advantage. They decided not to use Apple's wait and see method, and rather, chose to be a leader. MasterCard wants to delve into the market now and not be left behind when NFC takes off. This move will allow them to be a frontrunner when NFC takes off, and will get consumers who want to make the shift to NFC to see them as a viable option.
While MasterCard's support of NFC will also help to solidify the decisions of some consumers to make a change from Apple, the announcement of both Android and BlackBerry as compatible with the new SDK adds intrigue. It's no secret that BlackBerry has fallen far behind Apple and Android, since the two companies took the market by storm. BlackBerry has been flailing and trying to find a way to get back atop the market they once controlled.
With the introduction of the BlackBerry 10 platform less than a week away, this gives us insight into the direction that RIM will be headed. It appears that RIM will also bet everything on NFC.
NFC is RIM's best chance to get back into the market. They've lost so much support over the years that they need to do something major or become obsolete. With the MasterCard SDK it appears that BlackBerry is taking this as its chance to make a move. If NFC does take off, that will allow BlackBerry to regain some of the support it has lost. They can position themselves as the alternative to Android as the other major NFC compatible phone company.
Do you think this was a good move by MasterCard to go forward with NFC without Apple? Does BlackBerry have any chance of making it back to the top of the market with NFC?