Samsung to introduce an Olympics phone

Sadly, we don't know a great deal about the technical side of this, perhaps because the world of mobile phones changes by the week, let alone the year, But we do know that Samsung is creating a phone for the 2012 London Olympics.

The handset is being created in conjunction with Visa. From that, I think you'll realise that we're talking about an NFC phone, enabling consumers to make mobile payments using the 'Samsung Olympic and Paralympic Games mobile handset', as it is currently called. Let's stick with Olympics phone, shall we?

The phone will feature Near Field Communications (NFC) and Visa’s contactless payment technology. To make payments, customers simply select the Visa mobile contactless application, select pay and hold the phone in front of a contactless reader at the point of purchase. Visa is apparently  working with banks and retailers worldwide to roll-out acceptance for Visa contactless cards, as well as mobile phones, as part of an industry wide roll-out of contactless technology. There are already 60,000 locations for contactless payments, but by 2012, that's likely to take in the majority of retail locations - especially in the capital.

The first to get the new phones will be 'Visa and Samsung sponsored athletes', but the phone should also be available for consumers to purchase through mobile network operators and other distributors. A Visa-enabled sim card will be required for use with the device in order to make purchases at retailers who have the contactless payment system. That sounds like there will be a designated network taking on the phone, but no details as yet.

As for the phone, well Samsung already has NFC-enabled bada and Android smartphones, so it could be either of those operating systems. However, if the phone is looking to go mass market, we suspect Android is the more likely OS. Look out for a big launch in the first half of next year.

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