A Nokia research project called Nokia Hello leverages wireless technology with Near Field Communications (NFC) chips to help people “speak” to each other. I figured it would be a good solution when speaking to someone in a non-native language (it is), but Nokia suggests another use.
What consumers need to understand and embrace NFC is a gateway drug. And that is not likely to be mobile payments, said Andrew Bocking, Vice President, Handheld Software Product Management at RIM. It’s more likely to be personal content sharing through NFC-enabled phones.
American Express has worked up an infographic charting the rise of mobile payments, highlighting a lot of the milestones over time. All this work in the past is now coming together to make mobile payments a mainstream technology.
NFC has been trashed by critics, who say it adds no value to consumers or is a technology in search of a need. But increasingly, we’re seeing more interesting projects and applications being built that show how NFC will be deployed outside of mobile payment situations.
Chip maker Intel has been getting some NFC religion lately as it looks to incorporate the short-distance radio technology into its chipset. The latest sign is an agreement with French NFC chip maker Inside Secure, which will provide NFC technology and products to Intel.
MasterCard and mFoundry are poised to help banks launch potentially hundreds of NFC-based mobile wallets with a new partnership that will allow banks that use mFoundry for mobile banking apps to add support for contactless PayPass payments, turning those mobile banking apps into digital wallets.
Apple and Microsoft are reportedly poised to support NFC next year in their handsets, according to a report from Digitimes. Apple’s support of NFC could be especially helpful for the nascent technology, helping expose it to a mainstream audience.
Is Google Wallet ready to replace my cash, credit cards and wallet? Not really. Does it make me feel cool and futuristic? You bet! That’s the feeling I get after playing with Google Wallet ahead of the big public launch today.
Google is finally opening up its near NFC Google Wallet system today, allowing Nexus S users on Sprint to try out contactless payments through their smartphone. With only one handset that supports it, Google Wallet is just a first step in a long process.
This year, much of the promise of mobile payments seems like it is finally coming together. GigaOM chose 25 mobile payments companies who are exerting the most influence in the mobile payment space, showing where it is and where it’s going.