RIM may find itself the subject of a good deal of criticism thanks to its hardware choices that seem to lag behind the rest of the industry, but that’s not entirely fair. In certain areas, RIM is much closer to the edge of innovation, and its embrace of NFC support is certainly one of them. While there hasn’t been much you can do with the hardware just yet (at least partly due to conflicts with carriers over enabling the feature), it speaks to the company’s forethought that it’s at least included, and we’ve already heard about some interesting applications, like using it as a passcard to open doors. Now we’re learning of the first-ever plans for BlackBerry mobile payments with NFC, set to debut in Spain next year.
Users of late-model BlackBerry phones with NFC support who are on Spanish carrier Telefónica will be able to use their smartphones for tap-to-pay applications at retail sites beginning in 2012. You’ll manage your funds through a Telefónica-developed wallet app. If everything goes well, support for the payment option should spread to additional nations later on in the year.