Android’s Bizarre NFC Support

Android has been the mobile OS to embrace new standards and for the past year it seems like they were on the bleeding edge and were offering features that Apple and other were either choosing to ignore or simply haven’t gotten around to just yet. Unfortunately, Google seems to be dropping the ball this time around.
Regardless of what you have heard, NFC will be the biggest thin in telecoms in 2011 and especially during the 2nd half of the year. Yes LTE is important and makes the news every day but it is still years away. Operators are massively gearing up towards NFC adoption and so are banks and handset manufacturers. Bottom line is NFC will finally make it and deliver on it’s promise. Unfortunately for Android, Google has chosen to only implement a crippled version of the new protocol. I was watching a video of one of the developers talking about Nexus S last night, yeah I know old news, and he said that you can ONLY read NFC tags with Nexus S. You cannot send information from the phone and other devices cannot read information sent from your phone. I thought that is a bit of an oversight considering that NFC can indeed be used for so much more than a glorified bar code scanner so I looked up the developer documentations. Sure enough, the Android SDK actually only allows you to read NFC messages and you cannot send them.
I don’t know what Google’s reasoning for this is, but this effectively leaves the NFC field open for Apple, RIM, and Nokia and believe me, at least one of them will use NFC for a lot more than just reading tags.


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