By comparison, Google Wallet embeds the secure element for mobile payments in the core of the smartphone rather than on a removable SIM card. Google Wallet was introduced in the U.S. in September 2011 using a Nexus smartphone on the Sprint network and tens of thousands of NFC-ready payment terminals.
RIM's announcement will likely bolster interest in mobile payments in the U.S., where many device users have been cold to the NFC technology mainly because of security worries and a longtime habit of using credit cards to buy goods and services, analysts said.
In Japan and South Korea, smartphone users widely use their NFC-equipped devices to make low-cost mobile payments at retailers and for rides on public transit. The system first rolled out more than a decade ago amid broad cooperation between carriers and banks there.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about mobile payments in Computerworld's Mobile Payments Topic Center.