You may have heard the term ‘NFC’ bandied around a lot recently, especially in the context of mobile devices and smartphones. But what exactly is NFC?
NFC stands for Near Field Communication and allows NFC tagged components to communicate and share data with each other, within a close proximity. Although NFC is typically found in devices (e.g. smartphones) NFC communication does not necessarily mean from one physical device to another, as other objects can also house NFC tags for specific purposes, a good example being London Underground’s Oyster card, which uses the same technology.
However NFC is increasingly rising to prominence due to its integration into the latest smartphones, including many of the latest Android devices, most notably the Samsung Galaxy S3, Google Nexus 4 and the HTC One. Indeed, Apple are also rumoured to be including NFC into their next smartphone, dubbed the iPhone 5S.
NFC and mobile payments
One of NFC’s most practical uses in mobile devices centres around mobile payment, with the overriding benefits to the consumer namely speed and convenience. Instead of scrambling around for loose change in your pocket you can instead tap your smartphone on the reader at the till in a matter of seconds.
In the months ahead you will increasingly find new apps that seek to utilise this latest native functionality through transactional apps as described above or peer-to-peer data sharing as seen below:
NFC and Sencha Touch
Although pure HTML5-apps will not be able to access NFC capability, mobile frameworks such as Sencha Touch and/or PhoneGap allow web-apps to bridge this gap gaining access to such functionality through APIs.
Whilst Native APIs for NFC access already exist, which can be used by HTML5 apps in conjunction with Phone Gap and similar, direct access from within the browser is on the way.
If you’ve got an app idea that could utilise NFC technology then it’s worth noting that HTML5 will be able to help you achieve this.
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