The first time I ever used near field communication – that is, before I got my PayPass-enabled MasterCard — was probably in 2008 when I purchased an Octopus Card in Hong Kong to ride the public transit system there.
But the first time I ever used NFC on a phone was only yesterday. This momentous occasion has been recreated for you in the photograph above.
How I came to this revelation was simple enough. I’m planning a trip back to Hong Kong over the holidays, and figured that surely by now there would be an official Octopus client for my NFC-enabled Nexus S. Turns out that there isn’t, but there is at least this handy little app that lets you check the balance on the physical card.
I found but one other NFC card reader in the official Android Market — that one successfully read my Pasmo card from Japan but not the Octopus Card, nor my EasyCard from Taiwan for that matter. Oh, and did I mention that select HTC phones there also have NFC onboard, and get you on the subways same as in Japan?
I’m really at a loss as to why NFC-enabled handsets are so few and far between here in the west. BlackBerry is calling dibs on the first PayPass-certified devices, but only in France. Closer to home, Google Wallet was made available for a limited trial in the U.S. (on Sprint) just last month.
All I want to do is wave my phone over vending machines, turnstiles and such like a boss. Can we please step up our efforts on this?