Uses of NFC

What exactly is NFC?

NFC or Near Field Communication allows two devices with wireless capabilities that are close to one another exchange encrypted information in a simplified way. It offers short range wireless capabilities. It operates at a frequency of 13.56 MHz at 106Kb/s to 424 Kb/s with the maximum operational distance at 20 cm.

For an NFC device to work, it needs two devices - an initiator and a target. A target can be another NFC device or tags, stickers, or cards, all of which do not require batteries, except of course the NFC device, i.e. if both devices are NFC devices such as two mobile phones. A target has an IC (Integrated Circuit) where the information is stored. NFC tags store data between 96 bytes to 512 bytes which can store data like credit or debit card information or product details or videos.


Uses of NFC

In the United States, NFC is used to make payments with your phone. Most of the smart phones on the market today are already equipped with an NFC chip in them. While NFC is mostly going to be used for transactions e.g. using mobile device to make payments to a wireless cash register, there are other uses of it as well.


Origin of NFC

NFC was jointly invented by Sony and NXP semiconductors in 2002. Sony and Philips have founded a forum in 2004 for NFC called NFC Forum where 130 countries are involved in it and believe NFC to be the future. The forum promotes sharing, pairing of two devices and transaction between two NFC devices. The forum includes communication technology companies like Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, HTC, Motorola NEC, Huawei, RIM, LG, Toshiba, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, Sprint, Rogers, SK, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Paypal, Intel, IT, Qualcomm and NXP to name a few.

The main objective of the forum mentioned is to create an NFC ecosystem which will be a platform that brings all the uses of NFC and people together under one roof. Its purpose is to make like easier, simpler, faster and more secure from simple activity like reading or sharing information to other types of transactions.

The N-mark trademark is the official logo of NFC. You can tap your device to another device that has the N-mark logo on it.


More Uses of NFC

NFC acts as an electronic credit card or an ID card. It can, however, share information like contacts, music, photos and so on. NFC, despite being wireless, has an active range in a close proximity only, which makes it safer and more effective because it will prevent unauthorized use.


NFC has two modes:

• Passive communication mode

In this mode, the target is powered by the initiator, e.g. an NFC enabled mobile and an NFC tag.

• Active communication mode

In this mode, both the initiator and target, power themselves, e.g. a peer-to-peer NFC device.


List of NFC Phones

Nokia 6131 was the first phone to have a NFC chip embedded in it and Samsung's Nexus One is the first NFC enabled Android phone.


Phones that currently have NFC (in alphabetical order):

• Acer E320 Liquid express

• Blackberry Curve 9350 and 9360

• Blackberry Bold 9900 and 9930

• Blackberry Porsche design P'9981

• Google Nexus S

• HTC Incredible

• HTC Ruby and Amaze 4G

• LG T530

• Mobiwire Cosyphone

• Motorola Droid Razr

• Nokia C7

• Nokia N9

• Nokia 600, 700, and 701

• Nokia 603

• Nokia Oro

• Samsung Galaxy Nexus

• Samsung Galaxy S II with NFC is available in Korea only for the time being.

• Samsung S5230 NFC

• Samsung  Wave 578

• Sonim XP1301 Core NFC


Upcoming phones with NFC capability:

• All of Microsoft's Windows mobile phones

• So will HTC, RIM, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson

• Blackberry Bold 9790

• Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE

• Fonelabs X-Series

• Nokia N5

• Prada K2

• Toshiba TG01

These are some of the mobile phones currently available in the market with NFC. However, not all are equipped with NFC based on territory so make sure to ask your supplier before you buy one in case you are eyeing for an NFC equipped mobile phone.