Nexus S NFC Read-Only For Now, Full Support Coming Later

Google’s Nexus S includes a Near Field Communication chip which, along with software support in Gingerbread, lets the phone communicate wirelessly with nearby passive and low-power devices. The manufacturer of the phone’s chip, NXP, has revealed that the current implementation is crippled, but should gain full functionality with a software update.

According to NXP, the Nexus S will ship with its NFC chip configured to only act as a reader. You’ll be able to scan tags in public places just as you would with QR code, viewing the associated data on your phone. That’s only scratching the surface of what NFC offers, though, as using the phone’s chip to also transmit data opens the door for proximity-based payment systems.

Apparently the main issue causing the NFC chip to be read-only at first was one of time. NXP says that Google was interested in getting both Gingerbread and the Nexus S out on-schedule, and there wasn’t time to make sure two-way NFC transmissions were up to snuff. NXP expects full functionality to be implemented in a Gingerbread update, rather than being put on hold for the next full Android release. Those software changes and SDK updates should also enable NFC transmissions for any other smartphones with NFC chips running Android 2.3.

Source: NFC World

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!