Cellphone NFC Java

The project brief was to stimulate the market for near field communications (NFC) in consumer electronics.

NFC deployment into most markets was progressing nicely. e-Government, supply chain management, automotive, pharma etc etc.

The mobile market was progressing too, but at a relatively steady pace. Too steady, so our task was to stimulate a consumer pull to bring the NFC feature into the mainstream handsets.

We brainstormed:

1.Toys/Gaming
2.Interactive Advertising using Storecards
3.Photo Re-Printing
4.Peer to Peer for Mobile Entertainment
5.Automotive Infotainment

Starting at the top, we developed some toy and gaming Java NFC apps on the Nokia 6131NFC. Nick Thorne was the project manager, lead developer, marketeer and evangelist.

The Nokia 6131 NFC is a Series40 mid-range phone, with camera, web browser, GPRS all the usual features. But it also has a built in NFC reader. It supports the JSR-257 Contactless Communication API for Java MIDP. This means that Java applications written for this phone can access the NFC functionality. Also loaded on this phone is the NFC Push Registry. This means that if a tag (e.g. Mifare 1K) contains NDEF formatted data, then Java applications can be automatically called when a card is detected. For instance, a Smart Poster (NDEF format) card can cause the Smart Poster midlet (Java MIDP applet) to be called, which would do something like call up a URL with some information for example.

In order to program the Nokia 6131, you need the following sets of software:

  • EclipseME IDE for developing J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) CLDC¬† (Connected Limited Device Configuration) MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) applications.
  • JDK (Java Developers Kit) latest version is 1.5.0_14. Get JDK 5.0 Update 14 here.
  • Nokia 6131 SDK and emulator.
  • Web server and / or BT USB dongle for Midlet provisioning.
  • PC (I use WinXP).

Instructions for installing are:

The Eclipsme Documentation is very good too, especially for creating and deploying midlets.

And the result was a fantastic set of game demos, including a fully NFC enabled Top Trumps, which we demonstrated to the Product Development Director of Top Trumps owned by Winning Moves.

We also spoke to Hasbro UK’s development director and Vivid Imaginations and many others.

And what did we learn ?

Pretty much that these toy companies have been using RFID for many years. E.g. Hasbro used RFID in Star Wars figures in 1999 and more recently in Cosmic Catch and Hyperslide. Lego have an RFID sensor for their Mindstorm range that includes the ability to create robot RFID “food”.

We also learned a great deal about programming RFID and NFC in cellphones.

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