There have been a cluster of interesting bits of NFC news over the past week that highlight not just that the market is growing – but also that it is extending into new areas.
First off, NXP launched a new family of NFC tags that can be cost-effectively added to wirelessly enabled consumer electronics to make the process of pairing completely effortless. By adding an NFC tag to any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled device – like headsets, printers, cameras or soundbars – you can pair it with another NFC-enabled device like a smartphone by simply bumping the devices together. This automatically exchanges all the relevant Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection credentials, dramatically simplifying what is often a slightly tedious pairing process.
With a great deal of focus on NFC payments and ticketing, this highlights how the technology can be used far more widely than it is to date. All short range wireless devices need some kind of pairing process and NFC looks like an increasingly tempting means of simplifying this process – especially as the cost of the technology falls.
In fact the applications of NFC were pushed still further by Motorola which announced an NFC clip that can be attached to your clothes and used to unlock its new Moto X smartphone. As Phandroid point out this is either very convenient or very lazy – either way we’re assuming you can still unlock it with a password if you lose your clip, otherwise this is just a new way to brick your phone!
The Moto X is just one of a growing number of phones armed with NFC – in fact according to a new Frost & Sullivan report 53% of all mobile phones will be NFC enabled by 2015 (we’re assuming they mean smartphones here). Good news for the 3-month mobile payments pilot in the city of Leiden, with over 1,000 consumers participating.
Interestingly, some device manufacturers which have embraced NFC are now extending the technology into other non-mobile elements of their portfolio. Take LG, which has just launched an NFC enabled convection oven – the Light Wave DIOS – which can be controlled with an Android app. This makes navigating the 220 ways to cook your food, including air fry mode which reduces fat intake by up to 77%, that little bit easier. NFC tags with cooking instructions can also be touched against the oven to make the cooking process a step closer to being idiot-proof.
With the cost of NFC coming down and the number of smartphones that support the technology on the rise, we’re likely to see it feature in an ever increasing range of devices.