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Symbian users: Prove you exist with NFC Foursquare check-ins

Dying service embraces dead OS with latest wireless tech

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Symbian users who like to check in to Foursquare, but hate having to run the application, can now just tap their handset to let the world know where they are.

Checking in to locations using Near Field Communications is already possible using Android handsets, applications exist for Google Places as well as the industry-pioneer Foursquare, but Symbian users can now join the fun by checking in with a tap – as long as the fun lasts.

Active location services, which drive users to share their location by offering them ethereal gifts in the form of accomplishment awards and pixelated badges, aren't the flavour of the month any more. User location tracking is now passive for network operators, and anyone else who can manage it; databases of users' movements are now compiled automatically. Companies much prefer to collect that data – allowed in the fine print of T&C agreements the user never reads – instead of having to constantly encourage users to update their status everywhere they go.

Foursquare's recent decision to refocus the business on helping people find local services demonstrates the limited potential of check-in services. Merchants have proved (unsurprisingly) reluctant to offer promotional prices or special deals that are limited to those touting a Foursquare sign-on, and the novelty of being awarded "mayoral" status over a street corner was always going to have limited appeal.

But those sporting one of the three Symbian handsets with NFC, and still hoping to become mayor of somewhere, will be delighted.

The Nokia blog also offers helpful advice to developers wishing to add NFC support to their own Symbian apps, though we'd probably recommend waiting until next year, when Nokia's Windows Phones will get NFC support. ®

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