During a session at the recently concluded mobiFEST 2010 event, a participant spent some time lamenting how our system was not up-to-date. One of the things he devoted time to was his opinion that there is a dearth of Near Field Communications (NFC) mobile phones in the country while the rest of the world has moved on.
I found that amusing (and you will find out why shortly), but never got to respond to his “complaint”. For starters, what is NFC?
Near Field Communication or NFC, is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 centimeter (around 4 inches) distance. This makes NFC specifically suitable for mobile payment, identification and other related services.
Basically NFC turns a mobile phone into a contactless card and electronic reader, and allows the phone to communicate and exchange information with other NFC devices.
With all the excitement pushed by the gentleman, the reality is that there is a very limited choice of devices on the market at the moment. There are no more than a handful of NFC phones available. Nokia has announced that from 2011 their new smartphones will be NFC-enabled.
In the meantime, NFC on mobiles is still almost entirely on trial. For example, perhaps the most easily obtainable NFC handset is the Nokia 6212 Classic (pictured in this article), but even that is no longer in production. While some other manufacturers have NFC devices, they are either for development or trial purposes.
This was what made the gentleman’s comments amusing. There is no NFC revolution going on anywhere yet. Even if he lived in North America or Europe and wanted to purchase an NFC phone now, he would be hard pressed to find one.
Do you know of any NFC devices in circulation? Have you used any? Have any useful information about NFC? Tell us about it.