Use Your Android Phone Like a Credit Card?

You’ve probably seen the commercials of people walking up to soda machines, typing a few buttons on their phone, and having teh machine dispense a soda. Seemed pretty cool? To me it does, although it could also mean that I will have even more trouble not overusing my ATM/debit/credit card. Well, the commercials are yet another step closer to reality. At the Web 2.0 Summit, Google’s Eric Schmidt said that the upcoming Android 2.3 (or Gingerbread) mobile operating system will support a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC) via a standard API for interaction with Near Field Communications hardware.

NFC, for the technologically challenged (like me) is a very short distance, high frequency wireless technology that swaps data from two devices kept closely together (think a few inches apart). To the layperson, it will seem allot like an access card you use to swipe in at work, or maybe like a device you put in your window to drive through toll booths.

There are few handheld phones today that already have the NFC embedded. It sounds as though Gingerbread will be an impetus for the handheld makers to include these chips in future releases. While Google, according to Schmidt does not want to get in to the mobile payment software business, I can’t imagine they would not at least be interested if the revenue model makes sense (can you imagine credit card processing service not making money?).

In my mind this technology is surely to become a buzz word in 2011. I can’t wait to use my second, third or fourth generation EVO to pay for dinner!

Want to read more about NFC? Check out What’s Google going to do with NFC? at the Register.