The upcoming near field communication revolution is so close that we can taste it. What the Japanese have been enjoying for years is finally going to come to the rest of the world once the price of incorporating NFC into mobile devices comes down in price. We’ll most likely see firms like Qualcomm, who sell system on chip platforms that have all the components you need to make a mobile phone, simply slap NFC support on top of the already ballooning number of built in features and wireless standards in chipsets such as the Snapdragon. What if people don’t want to upgrade their phone however, yet still want to enjoy all the features that near field brings? Japanese company Toppan Printing has an answer, and it’s a 3.9 mm thick device that will cost roughly $25 and it comes with a built in 2.2 inch 320 x 240 pixel screen, along with buttons on the side that enable user interaction.
Similar to the EasyCube we saw being trialled in Taiwan, this thick business card form factor device will allow people to conduct transactions such as paying for public transportation, acting as a key to a building or automobile, and even replace a credit card once the proper infrastructure is in place. The device will begin mass production next year, and while it’s unknown whether or not it’ll take off, it shows one possible direction that the industry will head in as we finally look to replace the over 50 year old magnetic card swiping technology.
Is this something you’d like to pick up? It would be an extra card to carry, that’s a given, but it can potentially be the only card you carry. Advanced technology users will likely upgrade to mobile phone’s that have near field built in, but there will be plenty of folks who’d rather experiment with devices such as this first.