Next-gen Nokioa phones may pack NFC, wireless charging

In many parts of the world, Nokia sells more mobile phones than any other competitor, even if those devices are in the low-end and medium-range of the market.

It is certainly no secret that Nokia is having a difficult time competing in the high-end smartphone market, and its stock prices and quarterly earnings have suffered because of it. Nevertheless, the Finnish-based company is working hard to turn itself around, and has bet big on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.

Many consumers and analysts probably agree that Nokia needs more than Windows Phone to alter its ailing smartphone fortunes.

The good news? Nokia’s design chief, Marko Ahtisaari, is pressing for new features and devices that will hopefully appeal to mainstream smartphone consumers.

Indeed, Ahtisaari recently hinted at a couple of interesting features that Nokia’s Lumia smartphones may gain in the future, such as NFC tech, which is rapidly gaining popularity.

Of course, features such as NFC alone are unlikely to set Nokia’s offerings apart from the masses as many consumers simply expect such capabilities on next-generation smartphones. And that is why the Fininish-based corporation is eyeing wireless charging, which has yet to become mainstream.

True, there are a few companies offering wireless charging via accessories that allow the user to simply sit his or her smartphone down on the charge plate rather than fiddling about with cables. The first smart phone I recall seeing with wireless charging support from the factory were certain webOS devices from Palm. The catch with those Palm smartphones, however, was that the wireless charging accessory was not included.

It isn’t yet clear if Nokia will offer a smartphone with wireless charging, and whether that feature would be included out-of-the-box or if it would require an accessory purchase. Clearly, offering wireless charging right out-of-the-box would certainly set the Nokia Lumia smartphones apart from the pack, and that is exactly what Nokia needs to succeed in a crowded market.

And as expected, the company is also looking to improve the design of its existing smartphones with little things that will make them easier to use, such as the removal of the flip up plastic tab covering the micro-USB port on the current Lumia 800. 

“If you can take away a moving part and make it [the phone] more beautiful in the placement of the components, we’ll do it, so that’s something where we can certainly keep improving,” Ahtisaari told the Guardian. “Take it to the extreme, and why are there any connectors?”

That quote is particularly interesting to me. Think about a smartphone with no ports at all. What if you could walk up to your TV, lay your phone down and have it not only charge, but also automatically connect your TV to stream video to your big screen.

Another interesting potential feature? The ability to walk up, place your smartphone next to your notebook and have it automatically provide data and file transfer capability with no interaction from the user. Capabilities like that would make for more interesting features that might improve the mind and market share of Nokia smartphones.