Bloomberg is reporting, based on two unnamed sources “familiar with the company’s plans”, that HP will be rolling out an unspecified number of NFC-enabled smartphones and tablets.
The company is considering introducing phones and tablets based on near field communication technology, which lets users pay for items and receive coupons and loyalty points by tapping the gadgets on posters and grocery store cash registers.
Although HP hasn’t commented or announced anything publicly regarding this venture, Bloomberg‘s sources asserted that the gadgets be on US shelves before the end of 2011, and it is also likely that the old Palm brand and platform will be integrated, as well.
Currently, probably the most popular mobile device to host NFC technology is Google’s Nexus S, which is the only device that will be capable of supporting Google Wallet when it rolls out in the US.
“Other folks are going to build this capability into devices, so, competitively, HP needs to do that,” said Ed Finkler, an independent programmer who has created an application for devices that run Palm’s WebOS operating system.
Nevertheless, Google has promised that Android devices in the future will sport these chips, and there have been rumours that the next generations of Apple’s iPhone and iPad will also incorporate NFC. Given how much attention Google has garnered with its Wallet and Offers programs, and how the words “mobile payments” are on everyone’s lips these days, it would be surprising if Apple just let this opportunity go by. After all, it looks like HP certainly isn’t.