Why Smartphone Users Should Care About NFC

What is NFC?

NFC stands for “Near Field Communication”. A device with an NFC chip shares data by tapping the device on a sensor. The sensor can read an NFC device up to 10 centimeters away. It’s been around for a while, but many of people still don’t know what it is and what it can do.

There are three basic types of uses for this: transaction, sharing, and pairing.

1) Transaction

This looks like it will be the most popular use of NFC technology. Devices with NFC built in can become like a credit card when necessary. Instead of handing your credit card to the cashier and having them swipe it, you just tapping your device on the cash register’s sensor.

Google Wallet aims to replace your bulging wallet with your smartphone.

Smartphones are beginning to adopt NFC more rapidly. Will the iPhone 5 integrate NFC?

Visa’s payWave credit cards already use NFC. The the beautiful part is that you don’t even have to pull the card out of your wallet to pay.

You can already pay for transport with a Visa NFC card in several large cities around the world.

2) Sharing

NFC can be used to share data like pictures or contact information.

There are lots of videos on NFC sharing, but this video had the cheesiest music. Enjoy.

NFC can work a lot like QR codes do. QR codes are 2-D bar codes that quickly share information. QR codes work very simply: You take a picture of the QR code, which tells your camera to open a link to something, like an online a video. One guy got a QR tattoo. Advertisers love this stuff, too [video].

QR codes require you to open a special program to read the code. With NFC, all you have to do is tap.

Touchanote is a good example of another way you can use NFC to share data. Touchanote utilizes tags with NFC chips in them, which allow you to leave digital notes on physical objects. Just tap the tag with your smart phone and open up a note in Evernote.

3) Pairing

Finally, you can pair two devices together by tapping them. Tapping two devices together lets them quickly share the information necessary to connect to wi-fi or to link bluetooth devices together.

NFC makes it really easy to do a lot of useful things with your smartphone.

Now the question is, how soon will your smartphone have it?

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