It seems like every new smartphone you hear about has NFC technology. We see commercials with phones tapping and sharing videos. We see chargers without wires and headphones without cords. But what is NFC Technology and what can it do to improve your user experience? Jeff Miles from NXP clarifies the matter and explains the potential of this up and coming technology.
NFC has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. Among its best known functions is tap to share. If your smartphone has NFC and your business partner, colleague or friend’s smartphone has NFC all you have to do is tap the two together and transfer videos, photos, music, contact info and more. It’s a great shortcut that eliminates all the steps in between. Instead of going to your photo gallery tapping share, share as email/text message, select contact, and send, you simply tap phones. We’ve seen it on commercials dozens of times in the past month and thought, Hey, that’s cool! But what else can it do?
The answer is, a lot of things. For example: If you’re at Starbucks or a store that offers Wi-Fi and they have a NFC tag in their “Free Wi-Fi” sign, you can just tap your phone to it and get connected instantly. If you get one of the new Nokia phones with NFC you no longer need cords to charge your device or to connect your headphones.
NFC also works in conjunction with dozens of other applications on your phone including Google Wallet and Evernote. Using NFC tags you can share notes from the Evernote application even when you’re not standing next to the person with whom you want to share.
Here’s the example Jeff gave: Say you’re at work and your favorite TV show comes on at 7 and you want you housemate, spouse or kid to record it for you. Instead of leaving a sticky note on the TV or calling home to set it up, you can stick a NFC tag to the TV and whoever’s at home can tap their phone to the tag and Evernote will pop up informing them what show, channel and time to start recording.
NFC is also starting to infiltrate the world of commerce. Google Wallet is growing in prominence and takes advantage of NFC technology. Google wants to be your new bank card and just like a Mastercard bank or credit card with PayPass, you can use the Google Wallet application and NFC to pay for anything anywhere PayPass is accepted.
Of course, the issue of security gets raised a lot when you start talking about contact info and money, but NFC features a lot of built in security to prevent breaches including stringent security chips. The technology also is based on proximity and a willingness to share. Someone standing a football field away from you or even a few feet away won’t be able to get near your information. Distance is your additional force field of protection.
It’s clear when you look at the sheer number of new smartphones that are being released with NFC that this is the wave of the future. The more devices that are enabled with NFC, the more applications that are going to incorporate new NFC based features into their systems.
Most of the new Android smartphones have NFC and Windows 8 has come in strongly on the side of NFC technology. The HTC 8X, Nokia Lumia 820, Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung ATIV S just to name a few are all equipped with NFC. Windows 8 with its link to PC’s, tablets and laptops has the potential to extend the reach of NFC technology like never before.
A few Windows 8 all-in-one PC’s, tablets and hybrids have already been announced with NFC technology including the HP Spectre One, Envy X2 and ASUS Vivo Tab. This means that you can share videos, notes, pictures, presentations and more from tablet to smartphone to PC to hybrid and back again without any hassle. The multi platform functionalism of Windows 8 could increase exponentially the number of applications that include NFC technology and widen the spectrum of possibilities for the technology.
NFC is just starting to gain a foothold in the world of mobile technology and what was once a new feature is quickly becoming a near standard feature. The future of NFC is up to the imagination of application and device developers.