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NFC (Near Field Communications) is nothing new. The excellent O2 Money experiment a few years back showed how a credit card/Oyster/mobile phone mash-up could work, even if it was on an old-school S40 clamshell. And having gone a tad quiet in recent months, Android Gingerbread support and inclusion in the all-new Nexus S, shows that 2011 really will be the year this tech will take off.

google nexus s

For starters, Google’s unleashing of thousands of NFC embedded stickers around Portland, Oregon, shows how seriously Mountain View is taking this. The premise is simple. Point your phone at the NFC sticker and it’ll tag you in Google Places. The potential for both businesses and customers is endless.

Easy access to a welter of instant info about what’s popular right now, a chance to serve up immediate reviews and best of all a way to check in without having to fire up dedicated apps, or tap in details.

And where Google leads, others will doubtless follow. Chatter about NFC coming to the iPhone has been rife for years, but now is surely the time for Cupertino to strike. With its key Google competitors using the tech, surely Apple can’t miss out on this golden opportunity to bring contactless solutions to its cell.

iphone 4 dual

We could be talking deeply integrated Facebook and Four Square apps and even the chance to use your phone as a way of paying for low-ticket items. And that’s where NFC really does come into its own.

It has myriad uses, as seen with the O2 Money experiment. And as more mobile makers look to add new and enticing tech to impress above and beyond their operating systems, this really could be a game changer.

o2 money

The holy grail of a one-gadget solution for payments, travel and apps is here and 2011 will see a surge in its popularity. Nokia’s been working on its own location-aware services for years. Here is where it can really steal a march, loading NFC onto its brand new MeeGo phones and turning the tech mainstream.

The way in which we use our phones could be changed forever by NFC. It’s that important. It’ll be no surprise to see that in a year’s time, all top end smartphones using the technology. If Android Gingerbread supports it, expect Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony Ericsson to include it in their new phones at next year’s Mobile World Congress. Google has set the ball rolling, it’s now time for its mobile enemies to get in on the act too.

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