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Do We Have to Wait for the iPhone 5 to See NFC Widely Adopted? Probably. [Opinion]

As Android fans, I know that most of us don’t want to hear it, but if NFC (Near Field Communications) is ever going to take off and be widely adopted, we need the iPhone 5 to support it.

When the Nexus S was released on December 16, 2010 as the first NFC-enabled phone, Google made an early push to get both businesses and consumers into accepting the idea that their phones could share information by simply touching it to objects. The thought of paying for your morning coffee or cab fare without having to dig into your purse or back pocket seemed so game-changing. Since we all make our phones the most readily available item on our bodies at all times, what a brilliant idea this was. 

Unfortunately for all of the early adopters, NFC has yet to take off after more than a year. You can blame Google Wallet’s limited release to the Sprint version of the Nexus S only, the lack of manufacturers willing to build the technology into their phones, the yet-to-be-released Isis project by 3 of the 4 major carriers, or the lack of support by the entire credit card industry, but our thoughts immediately go to the one product that none of us care about. Yep, that would be the next iPhone.

Should the next iPhone include an NFC chip, investing in some sort of NFC company would be a fantastic choice. As many of you know, meaningful movements take massive numbers in order to be effective. With the number of iPhone users growing by the millisecond, they make up such a massive percentage of the smartphone population that they may be the only group that can get something like NFC to go mainstream.

If you aren’t buying that thought, think back about some of the other concepts that Apple was able to leverage into billion dollar money makers. The iPad is for the most part, the only tablet in the world that can turn a decent sized profit after years of attempts by other tech companies, front facing cameras are now a standard in all smartphones, great grandmothers even know how to buy media through iTunes, and the PC world has one focus for 2012 – to create Ultrabooks aka MacBook Air competitors. We need Apple to make NFC happen.

As painful as it is to write that, I’m sitting here with my Galaxy Nexus in Portland, OR unable to use NFC in my daily life. Sure, I can tap my GSM Nexus to my LTE Nexus and giggle or I can walk down to the closest McDonald’s to buy a cheeseburger, but do I want to? Not really. I want to buy groceries with my phone, instantly send money to my friend who picked up the bar tab so that the waiter didn’t have to bring us two checks, swap contact info in seconds with a new business colleague, and give the tourist on the street directions to the best burrito cart in the city. That’s what I want to do.

So far though, very few people own a phone with an NFC chip. I personally know 2. If the next iPhone adopts it, you immediately have a product with a new technology that millions of people are going to want to use. Not only that, but you have hundreds of companies who are going to want to develop products to use that new technology. And then hopefully, Android manufacturers figure it the hell out and start getting with the times. Like it or not, we need the iPhone this time around, folks.

  • Anonymous

    I could care less about NFC…

  • Matthew Rosidivito

    I see where you’re going, but I actually have to disagree. NFC payments are in my daily life. Every self-checkout machine in my local grocery stores have NFC readers. As does the Wawa that I get coffee or lunch at. Food and gas are generally all NFC enabled, everything else I need I get online.

  • I was going to use my Nexus to buy McDonald’s last night but they had plastic card holders holding promotional cards stuck to the area where I needed to wave my phone.

  • You know, I think all Android users have this internal struggle with themselves. I think they secretly want to be iPhone users in a way similar to how certain people point the finger at gays and bash them, only secretly harboring the fact that they are, in fact, closet gays themselves.

  • TC Infantino

    Yes, Android is a wannabe product…that has greater market share than the iphone.  And if you think that apple got it right by controlling what is on the phone that You paid for, then you so deserve the iphone.  For the love of all that is holy please keep buying apple products, and let those of us who have the brains enough to want control over a product that we paid for keep the good smartphones for ourselves.

    • Dude, there is NOTHING that Droid has that I feel as if I’m missing on my iPhone. Whiz-bang gadgets? Battery wasters… I have far more quality usable apps at my disposal than Android ever had or will have and I don’t have to sift through piles of dog crap to find them in a sea of fake and often malicious apps like the Google Market. My iPhone gets a lot of use, and when I put it on charge at the end of the day, I still have over 50% battery, usually. Under the heaviest of use, I still have more than 20% battery. Unlike the Google/handset OEM/carrier mess that develops Android phones, Apple designs them from top to bottom to work like they should.

      • Chris

        well said!

  • Chris

    you sound so pathetic Kellex. just acknowledge that fact Apple’s success in tech industry deserves it’s recognition and respect. stop crying about it!

    “but our thoughts immediately go to the one product that none of us care about. Yep, that would be the next iPhone.” Really? none of us care about? why are we talking about this then?

  • Balls

    it would help if the masses (meaning non DL xda readers) could use google wallet like i do all the time

  • So, are you saying that Android is not influential in the market at all? HA HA! Just like Jobs said, it’s a theft of IP and nothing more than a wannabe product.

    • Chris

      Kellex would never admit to it, even though you’re 100% correct because he’s Android’s little you know what.

  • Anonymous

    apple invented everything. they just haven’t patented it yet. 😛

  • Let’s see how the DROID 5 looks. {{-_-}}

  • LewD1

    Hate to agree with Kellex, but NFC ,as a new technology,  won’t catch on unless it’s adopted by the masses. (i.e. millions of iPhone users) We see Siri marketed as this great new thing, when we’ve had voice actions for years.  Most people see an iPhone commercial and are introduced to what all the device can do. If Apple comes out with commercials promoting NFC on the iPhone 5,  retailers and  credit card companies will jump on board to promote it. 

    I just wish that Google would take the initiative and make commercials to promote the features of Android to it’s true potential.  Instead of Android OEMs advertising the benefits/features of Android, consumers are bombarded with Verizon’s Droid advertising  & 4G speeds, when the majority of consumers don’t have a clue as to what the four gees means.We as Android enthusiasts know how great of an OS Android is. And it took hands on experience and word of mouth for many of us to experience this. I’ve seen first hand as a sales person for Verizon, how many  people don’t have a clue about  iPhones, but they know they want one, just because they saw what it can do on TV. 

    my $.02

    • Chris

      Unlike Android, Apple never rushes in getting the “next new thing” out to market, unless it;s perfected. This just goes to show you that it’s all about iPhone (quality) vs Android (quantity).

      •  Well, with the exception of .Mac… lol That was when Jobs went off on the developers and it will never happen again.

        • Chris

          true dat!

  • I have been telling my friends the exact same thing from the get go… NFC is a VERY cool technology that I think really will revolutionize how we use our phones in our day to day lives.  The problem also stems from hardware fragmentation… Just because you and your friend have the latest and greatest android phones does not mean both phones will be able to do the same thing.  That is the price you pay for an open system but I really feel like google needs to step up and take control over certain aspects of android hardware and software (skins).  That said, until apple makes it cool, it wont catch on… but im willing to bet once apple comes out with a phone that has NFC hardware built in, every other android manufacturer will jump on board despite googles attempts with the nexus. 

  • Anonymous

    I say it is pretty widely accepted now. I can go to CVS or Walgreens, do some grocery shopping at Dagostino, get gas at a couple of different gas stations around town and even use NFC payments at a couple of local stores too.  This is just within a couple square mile radius of my home.  If I hit the mall it can be used at Gap, Footlocker, Macy’s and a few other places.

    Of course Apple will come along with it one day and claim they invented it. 

  • Anonymous

    Google may have had NFC first but apple will find some way to integrate it into the OS so that it works flawlessly and the public will praise apple for doing so…I like both OS’ but google really did half ass google wallet…

    • Tim242

      Google did not half-ass Google Wallet. I use it daily on my Verizon Nexus. It works flawlessly. PayPass is all over the place. The carriers are not allowing it, because they are going to use their own app…ISIS. Sprint is the only carrier to officially support wallet, because they are the only carrier not to sign an agreement with ISIS. This is in no way a fault of Google, or a bad reflection of Google Wallet. Know what you are talking about, before talking trash.

    • DroidTruth

      Flawlessly? You may have to explain that one. Was Siri flawless?

      • Chris

        Siri is still in its beta version so for what it’s capable now i would say it’s pretty close to being flawless.

  • Ufcjeff

    actually apple could call it kfc and use its finger lickin good then sue kfc for patent infringement

    • Anonymous

      Hahahahaaha …

  • 1) Go to tagstand.com, but NFC stickers
    2) Use NFC Task Launcher and Tasker to do things with those stickers
    3) Mock others without such awesomeness.

  • Davidukfl

    I used google wallet all the time. It’s perfect for “on the fly” type shopping. I use it at CVS and 7/11 all the time. If I’m grocery shopping, the time I’m stood in line, plus the time to bag groceries.. a couple of extra seconds paying with my debit card instead of my phone isn’t that big of a deal.

    Also i use NFC tags in my house, car and at work. My “iphone fanboy” coworker literally said “wow that is sick” when i showed him how i just place my phone on the sticker and it automatically adjusts ringtone/notification volume and turns off bluetooth.

    I agree though, the iphone 5 will make or break NFC being used more mainstream for frequent day to day use