NFC Forum has developed the "N-Mark," a trademark which will allow consumers to easily identify NFC (near field communications)-enabled devices. Today, the Forum started a certification program for device manufacturers which will allow them to establish their products as being in compliance with the NFC Forum's technical specifications. Only certified devices will be allowed to display the N-Mark, the symbol that indicates where to touch to initiate the NFC-services on a phone or other device.The
Get to Know the N-Mark
The N-Mark is being released through a simple "click-through" license which involves reading the Trademark Guidelines, reading and accepting the Terms of the License, then downloading the provided Zip file. The file contains the N-Mark graphic in several file formats, the Trademark Usage Guidelines and the Compliance Requirements, including related specs and required formats.
In addition to the launch of the new certification program, the NFC Forum also published four new specifications which "define the modular architecture and interoperability parameters for NFC devices and protocols," according to the Forum's press release.
Android "Gingerbread" Phone, Nexus S, Introduces NFC Technology
NFC technology has been popular in some parts of the world, but it has not been extensively used in the United States, one of the top smartphone markets in terms of both market share and sales. However, with the launch of the new version of Google's Android OS (version 2.3, code-named "Gingerbread"), NFC support is now built in. Hardware makers interested in adding NFC connectivity to their devices will be able to do so, thanks to this support.
Google has also integrated NXP's NFC controller (PN544) into its newly launched "Nexus S" handset, co-developed by Google and Samsung. With this chip, the Nexus S can read the information from "smart tags," that is, objects that NFC chips of their own built in.
?"Although only two years old, industry analysts are already suggesting that Android will be the number two mobile platform by 2014," ?said Ruediger Stroh, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Identification Business, NXP Semiconductors in a prepared statement. "Google's adoption of the technology will be a catalyst for the industry to drive the further adoption of NFC at both the handset and application levels."
NFC Enabling Mobile Payments
Google says NFC tags can be found in anything from "stickers and movie posters to t-shirts," indicating the technology is a mere replacement for the practice of scanning barcodes and QR codes with a smartphone. However, a more practical use of NFC technology is in enabling a mobile wallet/mobile payment service where phones are swiped to pay for purchases instead of credit cards, debit cards, cash or checks.
There are several initiatives involving NFC-enabled payments taking off here in the U.S., most notably the joint operator project called "Isis" which will use NFC technology to enable its mobile payments service. You can read more about that project at www.paywithisis.com.