Orange is bringing near-field communication (NFC) to Europe thanks to the Samsung Wave 578 phone. The move builds on Orange's previous commitment to contactless payments thanks to a partnership with Barclaycard.

The initial territories to benefit from contactless services will be UK, France, Spain and Poland. The Samsung Wave 578 device will be launched in Q2 in Spain, Poland and France by Orange before rolling out to the “wider European footprint”.

Simon Stanford, Managing Director, Mobile, Samsung UK and Ireland said: “The Samsung Wave 578 handset combines sleek design with fantastic features, including super quick WiFi connectivity and NFC, on a really user friendly device. This handset enhances our expanding bada platform portfolio.”

The Samsung Wave 578 offers 3.2-inch display, a 3.2-megapixel camera and offers the usual HSDPA, Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3 technology. It measures 107.9 x 54.9 x 12.5mm and runs on Samsung's Bada platform. NFC, Samsung detail, is dependent on "market situation".

It’s not clear from the information that Orange has given us exactly what device will be the first NFC handset to hit the UK, but Orange goes on to say that NFC will also be coming from “LG and Nokia, amongst others.” It seems odd that the Samsung Galaxy SII was launched, but isn’t mentioned by Orange in this content, although we assume the same services would be available on that device should Orange stock it.

Anne Bouverot, executive vice president, Mobile Services, Orange, talks of NFC saying, “We are spearheading the third biggest revolution in the mobile arena, after mobile voice services and the explosion in mobile data.” 

These look like first steps in NFC, perhaps by the time we hit Mobile World Congress in 2012, NFC will be old news.

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