Gingerbread feature: Near Field Communication

Another new feature to Gingerbread is Near Field Communications (NFC).  It's a fancy term for wireless communication between things that touch each other.  You've probably seen this with your current credit or bank card, and special terminals at places like gas stations or bank teller machines, and it can be pretty handy.  It's a smartphone technology that's still in its infancy, has little practical use currently, and needs specialized hardware -- currently only the Nexus S supports it.

We expect all that to change soon, and a new series of possibilities -- and security concerns -- will become the norm in the smartphone arena.  For now, unless you're in Portland and visit one of the businesses Google targeted in their Hotpot testing area, there isn't much you can do with it.  But for kicks, get out your bank card or passport and hit the break to see a demo.

YouTube link for mobile viewing

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Yeah, where the fcuk is Tegra 2 in this phone? WTF is NFC?.. It's not a Google flagship, it's a Google flukeship.
  • This is a developer phone, not a flagship phone.
  • And WTF would that mean? Nexus One got ultimately obsolete all of a sudden?.. Why is it being sold to end-users?
  • You need to chill out dude. It's a phone, not the end of the world.
  • obviously to some is. =)
  • Just answer questions. If, of course, you know the answers...
  • get over it.. you'll live I promise
  • NFC is very big in Japan. It's very well developed technology in regular feature phones there. All your credit cards will go into your phone. Phone security is going to become a big issue. Expect to see finger print reading technology (retina scanners? ) appear in future phones. Tap to pay is going to be huge.
  • i highly doubt we will see a big stream here in the US for a while. And actually how many common user will take advantage of this? Weird, but i got a feeling if Apple add something like this in the will be like that whole front facing becomes a "must have" feature.
  • Yeah my Sharp Lynx 3D (running Android 2.1 no less) already supports NFC.. though I'm sure the libs and APIs aren't the same as what's in Gingerbread.. unless Sharp, Toshiba, etc and Google cooperated to get the new Gingerbread NFC stuff in Éclair and Froyo phones in Japan...
  • I'm just hoping they finish updating the Bluetooth & phonebook so that I can finally get it to work fully with my Prius.
  • According to the release notes for the DJ05 update to the Samsung Fascinate, the Prius "issue" is fixed, at least in Android 2.1 for that particular phone... What I'm getting at is it may not be Google's inaction to blame here, the fix is probably out there but it hasnt been worked into your handset yet. Thank your wireless overlords at the manufacturer and telco.
  • In it's current form, I agree. But I can see it being useful for payments. Even then, I'd be a little nervous about a phone tied to my accounts. Definitely would use a PIN on the phone for sure....
  • I'll definitely use this one as long as it's working near perfect.
  • Cool, thanks for the Video! Was wondering how to test the NFC, as that was the last item on my checklist for the new phone. (None of my cheap credit cards have a chip, so had to use a co-worker's. He was a bit nervous when he saw the phone read the chip. LOL) -Mark
  • I did a market study with Nokia about 5 years ago with this type of tecnology. They gave me a prepaid phone and a pre paid credit card. It was more of a pain to activate it each time you wanted to use it than it was to pull out a card and swipe it. I could see the advantage if you could use this everywhere and didn't have to cary a card.