More and more devices are becoming available with NFC - but what does that actually mean? First and foremost, NFC stands for near field communication. Basically, when you get your device close enough to something equipped with NFC - like a tag or a mobile payment center - it invokes an action on your device. Google Wallet is a perfect example of NFC in mainstream use; simply touch your phone to the payment terminal and the rest is done for you.
Mobile payment providers. Yeah, I'm already getting a little sleepy thinking about them, too. Let's face it, they're not the most exciting topic in the world, but whenever we talk about how people spend their money, you know there are lots of companies out there eagerly eying the potential of various new payment technologies with great interest. Among such companies are cell phone carriers, and the reason why should be obvious: smartphones with NFC are ideal platforms for next-generation payment systems.
When Panasonic announced the original ELUGA for the European smartphone market, we were a little underwhelmed. Today the ELUGA gets a new, awkwardly-capitalized older brother, the ELUGA power. True to its name, the device is considerably more powerful than its predecessor. Which is good, because this series needs all the help it can get.
Here's the rundown on the new hardware:
A 1280x720 HD, 5.0 inch LCD screen with a 9.6mm thin frame.
Until today, Panasonic had been keeping their high end Android phones to themselves in the Japanese market. That's about to change with the advent of the Eluga. Panasonic announced the new device today in Hamburg for release some time in March. We're promised that the phone will be waterproof and dustproof, which is great for all those times that you have your phone out in a dusty rain storm.
Here's a list of the key specs:
4.3" qHD display
8GB of onboard memory
Dual-core 1Ghz processor
All in all, the device sounds like a fantastic device...for early 2011.
Jealous of all the new phones coming out equipped with NFC but locked into a contract with your current, NFC-less handset? Worry not, friends, DeviceFidelity and Spring Card are looking to change the game within a several weeks with a new NFC microSD card that will bring touch-to-pay to "a number" of Android-powered handsets.
The card is called moneto and seems to be a fairly simple setup. Pop it into your microSD card slot, place a small NFC antenna inside your battery compartment to help with the signal, install the moneto app, and you're ready to go.
Make no mistake about it - the Galaxy Nexus is the most important phone of 2011. It's the first device from the next generation of Android. It hits every major feature the phones of 2012 will be touting: On-screen buttons, a massive 720p OLED screen, NFC, LTE, and Ice Cream Sandwich. Together these things make this phone unlike any other Android phone. This is what Android's future looks like.
In a rather unfortunate bit of news regarding Verizon's Galaxy Nexus, a rumor that the device will not have support for Google Wallet has been confirmed.
A Google spokesperson confirmed to Computer World today that the hotly anticipated Nexus device won't support Google's burgeoning NFC-based mobile payment system, but gave no word as to why Verizon decided to forego the service.
Verizon's decision could have something to do, however, with Isis – a consortium comprised of VZW, AT&T and T-Mobile, who have paired with four major credit card companies to form their own NFC-based payment venture.
Joining the race to replace all of your practical possessions with mobile apps, Lockitron is offering an NFC-based, key-free lock control solution for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry that has the potential for tons of applications, from letting people into your home while on vacation, to simply buzzing in a friend with no effort whatsoever.
Utilizing a system of "mobile keys," Lockitron's system communicates with a small hardware device connected to the user's internet router, which in turn communicates with your doors, either automatically, or through the use of an optional NFC tag that the user would manually slap onto a lock.
So, imagine this: you're walking through the mall, heading to the food court to munch on whatever greasy, artery clogging slop you can find. You sit down, pull out your mobile, tap it on the table, order your food, pay, and wait for your phone to notify you that your meal is ready. No lines, no feeling rushed because you have no idea what you want -- just you and your phone.