Google is working hard to incorporate NFC (near field communications) technology into their existing products, as they have with Places and Hotpot in Portland, Oregon. But we have yet to see much NFC tech in Android Market apps. After all, the recently released Nexus S is the only Android currently available that is capable of supporting it. Now there are two apps in the Market that not only support but require NFC: Enable Table and Taglet.
Enable Table is designed to work with chips in restaurants’ Enable Table Billfold. The customer simply scans an NFC equipped phone over the bill and “welcome back” coupons are automatically transferred to their device. Coupons self organize according to applicability and expiration date and are automatically redeemed at the time of payment. As the app’s Market description explains, “No scavenger hunts, elaborate rules, or games are required of busy people who enjoy dining and saving.” Hopefully, the app will handle payment at some point, with the cooperation of a Google API.
Taglet is a Japanese language app that allows users to create tags that include information such as URLs, messages, Twitter IDs, telephone numbers, and snail mail addresses. Two Taglet users can exchange information with a few taps and a wave of the phone.
NFC is on its way, and 2011 might be the year of crowd-sourced product databases, bargain maps, hands-free POS transactions, Ultra-LARPing, and much, much more. I’m looking forward to the first article on NFC speed dating.