My first NFC.

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?

3 Responses to “My first NFC.”


  • Let’s just wait till the big A starts using it in one of their iDevices. It will be “magical and revolutionary” and all of a sudden everybody wants to use it.

  • It kills me too. Good to see BlackBerry pushing this stuff, but carriers can lock out NFC from the phones if they want to, and I think that’s the big problem. Carriers want NFC transactions to authenticate through the SIM card so they can take a cut, but manufacturers just want to pump it through the standard IP network and bypass carriers altogether. That’s my general impression, anyway.

  • I hadn’t considered putting the carriers into the equation. I suppose that they’ve a fairly heavy hand in the software — in Japan, at least…

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