NFC: the lonely, magical, too-powerful orphan

Why doesn't NFC gain a foothold in the phone market? It actually has too many possibilities.


Bluetooth has an easier existence, because right out of the gate, somebody started marketing a use for short-range connections: hands-free earpieces. Earpieces were what made Bluetooth an essential technology in any cellphone, and once it was installed, it was relatively easy to extend Bluetooth's uses: wireless speakers, file transfers (albeit slow and unreliable), game controllers, and so on and so forth. Google's I/O conferences in both 2011 and 2012 were run through with the promise of NFC as the great linking thread between all the Androids and Google TVs and other devices, but that's just the catch: NFC could do all these things, but there wasn't one central, strong thing it did better than other things. Except, perhaps, passing photos and web pages between very specific phones in an awkward, phone-mounting-phone fashion.

Open-ended technologies and frameworks can be tremendously cool for those willing to spend the time filling in the blanks. Take a look at Android automation app Tasker, which can make your phone do amazing things in whatever situation you can dream up for your phone. It is at least a thousand times more useful and powerful than live Koi pond wallpaper. But you know exactly what the Koi wallpaper will do for you and your phone, and it has been downloaded at least 20 times as often as Tasker. Rock salt does not go down as smoothly as ice cream.

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