Pages

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Everyone is talking NFC



Its been over couple of years since I blogged about what NFC is. In fact successful trials in London occurred around that time but it seems the operators always had doubts.

Couple of months back, Nokia announced that from 2011, it will roll out NFC in all it phones. Here is an extract from the Register:

Nokia has announced that from next year every Nokia smartphone will have NFC, regardless of fact that the technology lacks a business model or any market demand.

The commitment was made during a speech by Nokia's VP for markets, Anssi Vanjoki to the Moby Forum, as
reported by NFC World. Vanjoki wouldn't be drawn on the company's smartphone plans, but did explain that every smartphone launched by Nokia would have an NFC component supporting the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) and MicroSD security, and probably a Nokia secure module too.

Once NFC is in a handset then one can do some interesting things with remote control of home electronics and Bluetooth pairing-by-tap, but none of that is the killer feature that NFC needs to make it viable.


Of course, the mobile industry isn't used to waiting for customer demand – no one ever requested a camera, or Bluetooth, those were pushed into punters' hands by operators (to sell MMS) and retailers (to sell headsets) respectively. But those were done by the network operators (which explains the popularity of Bluetooth in Europe, where operators own retailers).
Nokia, which has extensive IP in NFC, has spent a fortune trying to convince operators to back the technology, funding extensive trials and backing supportive research, but no matter how hard it tries, NFC just isn't desirable (at least until Apple puts it into an iPhone).


That was till last week. This week the news is out that Apple is testing NFC in iPhones. The following news from CNET:

Apple raised some eyebrows over the weekend when news spread it had hired an expert in mobile payments.

But now there's a report that says the company is already testing a prototype
iPhone with near-field communication (NFC) chips inside, which could pave the way for using future iPhones as a mobile wallet.

TechCrunch heard from an unnamed source that on Tuesday Apple is testing an iPhone with NFC chips it's ordered from NXP Semiconductor. It's not clear what kind of tests, and it could be very preliminary in nature. But coupled with the hire of Benjamin Vigier from mFoundry as mobile payments product manager, it does seem possible that Apple could be planning to open up its premier product to the world of commerce outside of iTunes.

In fact you may be able to do much more than mobile payments if Apple gets its way. You may be able to sync devices by touching each other. You can sync your MAC to iPhone or iPod. Here is a video showing some iPhone RFID demo, courtesy NFC world.

iPhone RFID: object-based media from timo on Vimeo.

In case you want to find difference between RFID and NFC, see here.

There is also an interesting article i read sometime back about when NTT DoCoMo will move to NFC. See here.

No comments: