Mobile phones have evolved throughout the years to do more than just let you ring someone up from anywhere you can get coverage. Text messaging came in the 90s, as did Bluetooth, then at the turn of the century we saw cameras being added, after that WiFi, and during the last half decade we’ve seen GPS become a standard feature for devices that cost over $100. What’s next? Near field communication, or NFC for short. According to the bean counters at Informa Telecoms & Media, 44 million NFC enabled devices will ship by the end of this year. Sounds impressive, but then you read Strategy Analytics’ figures that say 1.36 billion handsets shipped in 2010, and you start to realize that 44 million is peanuts. Informa says that in 2015, all that’s due to change. They expect over 630 million NFC devices to ship during that year, which to put it in a context you can understand, 4 out of every 10 phones sold will be NFC enabled.
Why do we love NFC so much? First, there’s the payment angle. Being able to easily pay for things with just a tap of the device that’s already practically glued to your hand is mighty tempting. Then there’s the sharing aspect. Yes, we’ve got Bluetooth file transfers, we’ve got email, and group messaging will blow up once iMessage hits the scene with iOS 5, but there’s just something incredibly compelling about touching 2 devices together and sharing contact details, images, movies, bookmarks, anything really. And don’t forget information discovery. We bet you’ve seen QR codes everywhere, that funky square box that urges you to take your device out of your pocket, unlock it, locate your QR scanning application, which you had to install on your own by the way, and then steadily hold your device over said square to fetch a link to additional information. That’s wildly inefficient. The tap and go capabilities of NFC change all that.
[Pictured above is the Nokia 700]
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