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Why you *might* care about NFC (near field communication)

by Savan Thongvanh March 14, 2011

There’s been a good amount of talk lately about what will be included in the iPhone 5. Just as much talk about that has been going on as there has about whether the iPhone 5 is even going to be released this year. Based on Apple’s other iPhone releases, it will. One of the most talked about features is near field communications or NFC.

What is NFC you ask?  Well it’s actually a pretty cool way for radios to communicate with each other with electromagnetic fields.  Since these fields have some energy they can transmit they can wake up another NFC radio just by being next to it.  Pretty cool eh?  The radio doing the transmitting is said to be the active and the other is the passive radio.  Both can be active but I think the active/passive model is the cooler one because it means one of the devices can run with lower power.

Great, one radio can wake another radio up.  Why do I care about that you might ask.  Well, ever since phones started to do more than make calls people have been using the term “convergence device” to describe them.  Meaning that many every day functions done with different devices or on paper have converged on the phone.  Calendar, contacts, calculator, radio…you get the idea.  This is just another step in that direction.  Some uses that have been prototyped are payment systems, social networking applications, medical monitoring devices, electronic ticketing, and more.  Imagine checking in at the airport and checking in by just waiving your phone over the kiosk, AMEN!

The jury is still out on whether NFC will be included in the iPhone5 and only time will tell.  However there are some devices that already have it.  Unfortunately until there’s a big push of implementations of payment systems, kiosks, or ANYTHING it’s basically vaporware.

Hopefully we’ll see some cool stuff soon tho!  What cool ideas have you seen for NFC?

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Filed under: Gadgets,Mobile — Tags: , , , , ,

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