Carrier Orange is pushing for NFC (near-field communications) compliance on more than 50-percent of the new smartphones it offers by the end of 2011, as part of a greater drive to support the short-range wireless technology. According to Telecompaper, Orange has adopted a new generation of NFC-supporting SIM cards which should be rolled out across its European operations in the second half of 2011.
Those SIMs - initially available to post-pay users on contracts with the carrier - will allow for NFC services such as contactless payments and travel when used with compatible handsets. Orange France has been operating a commercial trial using the Samsung Player One Cityzi in Nice since May 2010, with the touchscreen NFC handset expected to go on sale across the country in January 2011.
Orange expects to launch further NFC models in the spring, though the identity of those devices remains to be announced. We're guessing we'll see at least one or two Android phones, however, given Google's push for NFC support in 2.3 Gingerbread, and the technology being a headline feature in the Nexus S.