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The Problem with NFC

Posted by QuoteColo on October 04, 2013 - Updated on October 01, 2013

As recently reported, Google Wallet has moved past the firm use of NFC (Near Field Communications) for all transactions. The service, finding that most phones aren’t equipped with NFC and most people simply don’t care about NFC solutions, decided to move past near field communications in favor of direct email monetary transfers. The change opens Google Wallet up to more mobile devices, including those in the Apple market.

With the recent move by Google Wallet to move past NFC solutions to transfer money from user to user, the move brings up a good question: Are NFC services dying?

Near Field Communications Failure

Like the QR Code, at its outset NFC promised so much. The promise was simple, NFC allowed users to have instant direct communications through devices via a secure channel. The near distance channel allowed for the transferring of various types of data. NFC acted as a quick and secure avenue for transferring contact information, photos, videos, gifs, financial transactions etc. However, like the QR code, NFC enabled devices seem to have failed before launch. Why?

The answer is both found in marketing and the amount of devices enabled for the technology.

As we began this article with Google’s recent shift away from NFC for financial transactions (we are sure the minds over at PayPal are laughing and quietly smiling), here is a listing of all the phones and tablets Google Wallet currently supports for NFC transactions:

HTC One on Sprint, HTC One SV on Boost Mobile, HTC EVO 4G LTE on Sprint, LG Viper 4G LTE on Sprint, LG Viper 4G LTE on Zact Mobile, LG Optimus Elite on Sprint, LG Optimus Elite on Virgin Mobile, LG Optimus Elite on Zact Mobile, LG Nexus 4, Motorola Moto X on Sprint, Motorola Moto X on US Cellular, Samsung Galaxy Note II on Sprint, Samsung Galaxy Note II on US Cellular, Samsung Galaxy SIII on Sprint, Samsung Galaxy SIII on MetroPCS, Samsung Galaxy SIII on US Cellular, Samsung Galaxy SIII on Virgin Mobile, Samsung Galaxy SIII on Boost Mobile, Samsung Galaxy S4 on Sprint, Samsung Galaxy S4 on US Cellular, Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition, Samsung Nexus S 4G on Sprint, Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Sprint, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE on Sprint, Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE on Virgin Mobile, Samsung Galaxy Axiom on US Cellular

27 smartphones in total. Now, the tablets:

ASUS Nexus 7 (2012), ASUS Nexus 7 3G (2012), Samsung Nexus 10

Three tablets in total.

Of the devices listed, at least four of them must be used with a US-based SIM card for them to work properly with Google Wallet. Now, take a look again at the list. Notice anything funny? Like a lot of Google native applications, Google Wallet’s reliance on NFC technologies meant the financial service could never make the jump into the Apple market. As Apple devices don’t utilize NFC, Google Wallet was dead on the Apple platform.

This, for obvious reasons is a terrible business model. Sure, native Google applications work best on Google devices and platforms however the world isn’t only made up of Google Android devices. Funny thing is, Apple users utilize banks and financial institutions also. They even like money just as much as their Google using counterparts.

Due to this, Google Wallet was limited from the start. The use of NFC technologies only hindered the applications growth even further. With the Google moving away from NFC, only time will tell if the technology will meet a swift end or if it will live on in various devices for simplified data transferring. With Apple relying on Bluetooth connections for near field communications, our bet is Google will vanquish NFC technologies from future devices for better market integration.

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