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Near-field communication (NFC) chips and Nokia phones with the Windows Phone 7 operating system will be the big things driving the smartphone market forward in the next couple of years.
At least that’s what Adam Blum, the CEO and founder of Rhomobile, claims. The San Jose, Calif.,–based software company released today a new product, Rhodes 3.0, for smartphone application development. Rhodes now includes support for NFC chips as well as Windows Phone 7 and Windows CE support.
“Nokia with Windows Phone 7 is a force to be reckoned. Nokia ships more phones in the world than anyone else”, Blum said in an interview yesterday.
If application developers don’t realize the potential of the combination they will miss a large potential user group. Nokia still has a large user base outside the U.S. And even if the company doesn’t grow its importance will still be huge globally.
Blum has some support from analysts. Some have predicted that Windows Phone will be the number two on the market by 2015, second to Android.
NFC is a big priority on vendors’ agenda. NFC chips will be included in array of upcoming mobile devices such as Google’s Nexus S 4G (it’s already on Google’s original Nexus S), RIM’s Bold 9900 and 9930, and Nokia’s upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices.
Research company iSuppli predicts that there will be 81 million NFC-smartphones this sold this year and 118 million in 2012.
The first NFC applications will be focused on mobile payments. There’s also lots of potential for NFC with gaming. There’s a version of Angry Birds, called Angry Birds Magic that requires the use of NFC enabled Nokia smartphone (That’s Nokia C7),
Rhodes 3.0 is an open source framework to build native apps for major smartphone operating systems. (iPhone, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7, RIM, Symbian and Android). These are true native device applications that work with synchronized local data and take advantage of device capabilities such as GPS, contacts and calendar. The company claims you need only to build the application once, then use it on multiple operating systems.
Rhomobile was founded in 2008. The company has 26 employees. Last month it raised $5 million in first-round capital. The investors included Alta Ventures and vSpring Capital