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Android and NFC

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It is hard to believe that Android is turning only five years old on October 22, 2013, the same day that rival Apple is holding a special event for their devices.

In that five years, Android has came out on top, fully dominating the world of mobile operating systems. Together with rival iOS, Android has successfully vanquished BlackBerry’s own operating system and put Nokia’s Symbian OS to pasture. Android’s rise has meant the demise of both BlackBerry and Nokia, a feat that did not seem very possible just a decade ago. Nokia and BlackBerry were powerhouses in the mobile phones and devices industry. However, today, Nokia is now under Microsoft after teetering on bankruptcy for the longest time while BlackBerry sold itself to Fairfax Financial Holdings of Canada.

Imagine. From having only one phone at launch to more than half of the smartphones today running on Android. It was an auspicious start too. The T-Mobile G1 was far from perfect but it sold 1 million units.

Soon afterwards, Google just kept on improving. Cupcake was released in 2009 then Donut then Froyo, Gingerbread, and then to current Ice Cream Sandwich announced in 2011 and the current Jelly Bean.

Now, 1.5 million Android devices are added daily.

Admittedly, there is not much about Android that distinguishes it from Apple’s iPhones and iPads. It has a lively developer base that churns out really entertaining and useful apps. Except for near-field communication.

Near-field communication is one of Android’s advantages against Apple’s iOS.

With Apple’s continued snub of NFC technology for its products, Android users continue to enjoy NFC’s capabilities exclusively. The unfortunate thing is that everybody who has an interest in NFC is doing their own thing. This is the reason why NFC seems to be having a hard time taking off. Nobody is helping everybody else. Google Wallet is being blocked by ISIS. Different banks and financial institutions have their own mobile payments services.

For now, mobile payments based on NFC is so fragmented that the use of NFC for payment is rather limited. NFC is slowly taking off with non-payment uses such as data transfer and wireless connections.

Maybe Google needs to come up with a killer app for NFC, to help it gain more foothold into the market. What do you think should Google come up with?

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