HELSINKI, April 11 - Nokia unveiled on Wednesday its Lumia 610 NFC model, first to take the emerging near-field communication technology that drives instant payment systems to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, and promised more models in the future.
"We're bringing NFC right across our portfolio," Ilari Nurmi, marketing chief at Nokia smartphone unit, said in a statement.
Sales of NFC-enabled cellphones are expected to more than triple to 100 million handsets this year as manufacturers and operators roll out new models, hoping to tap emerging market for mobile payments, research firm Berg Insight said last month.
NFC enables data to be exchanged wirelessly over distances of a few centimetres, meaning mobile phones can be used to pay for goods, store electronic tickets, download music and swap photos and business cards.
Nokia said Orange will be the first operator to sell the Lumia 610 NFC - which has been certified for contactless payments both with MasterCard and Visa technologies - starting early in the third quarter.
"Nokia has been one of the front runners in pushing NFC technology on handsets for non-payment usage, but inclusion of Mastercard and Visa technologies suggest Orange will be looking to use the device also for its mobile payment service," said Digantam Gurung, analyst at CCS Insight.
Earlier on Wednesday Nokia said it had found a software bug in its Lumia 900 smartphone, blunting its bid to turn around its fortunes in the United States.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Andrew Calus)