Is 2011 going to be the year when NFC finally makes its mark as a viable smartphone technology? The hardware, though limited in its availability, is out there. Software like Angry Birds Magic and Google Wallet will finally give you something useful to do with that hardware, above and beyond just scanning static tags. Clearly, Android is on-board for NFC support, as is Symbian, and we’ve heard rumors about WP7 and iOS planning to join the party. The latest to catch the NFC fever may be Hewlett-Packard, with rumors that the company will be bringing the tech to webOS smartphones.
Bloomberg reports that a pair of sources have told it that HP is working on adding NFC capabilities to its upcoming webOS hardware. It’s possible that the first of these devices could show up by the end of the year, but don’t look for it in any currently-announced hardware like the Pre 3, set to arrive at the end of the month.
According to these sources, HP’s plans for NFC mirror what we’re seeing from the likes of Google, with aims to set up a payment infrastructure, integrated with loyalty cards and other coupons to offer shoppers discounts while encouraging use of the service. The company reportedly has plans to see these NFC-equipped devices used for business, tracking inventory and scanning tagged documents, but there’s no specific details on anything like that yet available. If these rumors pan out, we should hear more about HP’s NFC dreams as we approach the year’s end.