I got a demo today of Nokia's NFC phone the 6212 working with some sample devices which support it, and was absolutely blown away. I honestly hadn't been paying much attention to the technology because I thought it was some sort of random new Bluetooth-like communications thing that I was just going to wait and see. But it's not like that at all...
Ever pair Bluetooth devices in an office or area where there's lots of them around? It's a pain - first you have to discover your device, which may arrive after a dozen or so other devices in your list of potential pairings, then you have to do the passcode dance, which may or may not be obvious to do.
This is what NFC does - well from the demo I saw - it simply facilitates these Bluetooth pairings. (It can also pass other data like a business card or URL, etc. but the gadget-to-gadget stuff is the shiny bit). The data is still transferred via Bluetooth, but the pairing is done by actually touching the devices together. At first it seems like a step backwards, I know, but when you see it happen in front of your eyes, quick as anything, an ah-ha moment happens, trust me. I was given a demo of the Nokia 6212 working with a few devices, like another phone (for passing info, or playing games) or pairing with a headset, and it's amazingly simple and clean. Especially if you experienced how hard it is to pair a device using the normal handshake/passcode method.
It's so cool - you take the phone, tap it what you're pairing with, and it's done. The magic comes from the fact that the NFC stuff simply holds and passes the Bluetooth ID of the device you're trying to communicate with. Want to print a picture, just tap the phone to the printer. Want to pass your business card? Just tap your phone with someone else's. Easy peasy.
Seeing is believing. If you haven't paid attention to the technology or the acronym before, you should definitely do it now, because it's cool as hell. Check out Nokia's NFC page and this article on Nearfield.org for more info on it, it's really quite something.
It needs a better name,though. Like how Zeroconf is called Bonjour by Apple... Seriously a branded version of the tech called "TouchMe" or anything else would be better than what it is now... I mean, don't "fields" give you cancer or something? It's just a horrible name. But a COOOOL-ass tech.