Hands on: The Lumia 610, Nokia’s first Windows NFC phone

Nokia has unveiled an NFC version of its Lumia 610 Windows Phone at the Wima show in Monaco, announced that Orange will be the first operator to stock it from the middle of this year — and reconfirmed its commitment to include NFC “right across our portfolio”.

Nokia Lumia 610 NFC showing its wallet software in action

Nokia has unveiled a new version of its Lumia 610 Windows phone that includes support for NFC at the Wima show in Monaco.

The Nokia Lumia 610 NFC conducting an NFC transaction
WINDOWS PHONE WITH NFC: Conducting an NFC transaction with the Lumia 610. Click to enlarge.

The Windows 7.5 Mango phone supports NFC tag reading and writing, peer-to-peer pairing and card emulation modes and has already been certified by both Visa and MasterCard for mobile contactless payments. Orange will be the first operator to stock the Lumia 610 NFC once it hits the market in June or early in the third quarter of 2012.

“Nokia continues to lead the field in NFC with this latest implementation on the Windows Phone platform, in which we have the full support of Orange,” says Ilari Nurmi, head of product marketing for Nokia’s smart devices business unit. “We’re bringing NFC right across our portfolio, and together with our ever-growing range of NFC accessories we’re making it easy for people to connect via a single tap. We’re also enabling operators and other service providers to build NFC payment and ticketing solutions on top of our smartphones.”

Supporting NFC on the Lumia 610 involved adding both NFC hardware and an NFC software stack that runs on top of the Windows Phone platform, Nurmi explained during a presentation at Wima this afternoon, since Microsoft does not provide native support for NFC in Windows Phone 7.5. This capability, Nokia’s Sharat Khungar has told NFC World, was developed in partnership with Inside Secure and enables the Lumia 610 NFC to support SIM-based NFC services.

Buyers may also be able to upgrade the device to Windows Phone 8, which is expected to include built-in support for NFC when it is released later this year, Khungar added.

The 610 is the most affordable smartphone in the Lumia range, with a list price of €189 (US$248), and is aimed at a younger, mass market audience. Pricing for the NFC version has not yet been announced but is expected to be slightly higher at around €200, Khungar told NFC World.

“Orange is committed to rolling out mobile NFC services in all its European territories and as part of this goal we’re very excited to be the first operator to launch the Lumia 610 NFC,” says Orange’s Yves Maitre. “The Nokia Lumia smartphones have been very well received by Orange customers. We are now going one step further and adding an NFC-enabled handset to this popular range of devices, enabling people to use contactless services via a single tap. Nokia is a natural fit for us regarding NFC and, like Orange, has shown a very early commitment to the standard.”

A video showing off the new NFC phone’s capabilities has been produced by Nokia: