Why does NFC not seem popular?

Discussion in 'iOS 6' started by GimmeSlack12, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    So the iPhone 5 doesn't have NFC on it. Ok, that's just how it goes. Although it seems like a technology that is very convenient for tons of people it doesn't seem to be overly popular. So I asked myself a few questions regarding this:

    1. If there are more Android phones then why hasn't NFC taken off?

    This lead to another question:
    2. How many Android phones actually have NFC on it?

    Which lead to other questions:
    3. How many Android phones with NFC have been sold? And how does that compare with how many iPhone 4S's have been sold? (I'll use the iPhone 4S only to keep things semi-in perspective).

    As I thought about the Android world I started thinking that fragmentation must have something to do with the lack of NFC use. I can understand the SGIII having NFC (as well as some other 'Droids) but how many people have those phones and thus have NFC?

    Regardless of if there are more Android phones in circulation, it is very unlikely that there are more SGIII's than iPhones in circulation (heck, more Android NFC capable phone than iPhones). If you have a SGIII, how often do you run into another SGIII owner (that isn't a close friend)? Probably no where near as often as an iPhone user seeing another iPhone user.

    My conclusion was that NFC's adoption isn't about Android OS market share, it's about individual Android phones with NFC market share. I do feel that once the iPhone gets NFC the technology will become a household name, but that is because every iPhone user will have it. And there are likely many many more current iPhone users out there than any specific Android phone out there.
    (I tried to look up these numbers but couldn't find any, little help?)
  2. PONR macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2012
    I guess security is an issue especially using it as a wallet. I dont think time is right and is something that will gradually get popular, once issues are ironed out fully.
  3. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    Android phones often just toss in technology, at any cost, regardless of maturity or functionality.
  4. Captainobvvious macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2010
    Then they brag about it...

    "We have NFC, I can't believe the iPhone doesn't hahaha"

    "Have you ever used NFC or seen a place where you could use it?"


    Sure put it in there so in the future when it catches on you have it but who is going to keep the same phone for the next 3+ years?

    If you're the kind of guy that's going to jump on NFC the second it catches on then you're likely the kind of guy that upgrades his phone often.
  5. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    NFC has been a payment option for years. I've had a fob for my Mastercard (http://www.mastercard.us/paypass.html#/home/) for five years or so, and never used it. The big problem is that there have been very few retail places which had the equipment to use it.

    Putting NFC chips into phones so that you can use the phone instead of a fob is a neat idea, but it doesn't address the lack of retailer support. I just checked, and right now around me the only supported places are BP gas stations (not at the pump last I saw, just at the cashier), McDonald's and Jack in the Box. I haven't made any purchases in the last week at a place that accepted it.

    NFC sounds more interesting to me for the non-payment ideas: pairing phones to exchange data, hooking up to speakers, etc.
  6. GimmeSlack12 thread starter macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    My thoughts on NFC has been that it isn't very fast and thus less convenient. If there's one way to make a soon-to-be-dead technology is to make it less convenient than the method it is replacing.

    If it isn't secure then that's yet another shot in the foot.

    Android users love touting their hardware, even though their software is still maturing. iOS is mature, it is solid and it is supported!

    I very much believe that if the iPhone had NFC that many many vendors would immediately implement it into their POS (point of sales) systems.
  7. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    1. Retailer support.

    2. Some, but not an overwhelming majority.

    3. Guess, but far fewer Android with NFC than iPhone 4S's.

    All of that is irrelevant. NFC Wallet is not taking off because it's cumbersome and adds complexity. To a nerd, the occasional NFC payment tickles the nerd-funny-bone, but that's just complexity the 99% average user doesn't want.

    Wholefoods has NFC support, compare:
    1. pull out wallet, slide out credit card of choice, swipe, PIN/Sign.
    2. pull out phone, unlock, find NFC app and activate, let it load, type in another pin to unlock, select credit card, hold upto receiver, verify another PIN/sign receipt.

    The complexity is not reduced.

    The Dream is to free up a pocket, rid the need of a wallet and have all on phone.
    1. It doesn't replace all your cards. Medical card? no. Car ins cars? no. Will your bank be onboard? maybe. Drivers license? no. Membership cards (REI/SAMs/Associations/Leagues)? no.
    2. Doesn't hold cash. Cash is still used for parking, indie trade shows and expos, etc.
    3. condom
    4. spare key

    It doesn't hold these little day to day items like a bifold.
  8. xmnj macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2007
    The big thing with NFC, especially in the U.S., is support. I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 on Verizon, and I cannot use NFC, because Verizon does not allow their phones to use Google Wallet.
  9. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    I did some research 1.5 years back and it all seemed to point that NFC was right around the corner...I'm thinking it is still at least 5 years out.

    There are some nice applications, especially around replacing QR codes, which need camera and line of sight. NFC can be used to push coupons, bus schedule changes, download song sample as you walk past a poster, etc.

    There are also many applications for home medical devices, with devices sending data to smartphone and then automatically to doctor.

    I think eventually most of us will have an eWallet of some type. I'm 40 and for me it is now a cashless world. 90% of my spending is debit/credit card and loyalty cards. I've been waiting for the day when I just wave my cellphone in front of the vending machine...someday.

    I can't imagine my kids having to carry around card size pieces of plastic to make payments. Reminds me of driving to the store to buy software on plastic disks.
  10. Flux.Capacitor, Sep 13, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012

    Flux.Capacitor macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2012
    My best guess is that it's either just not ready for main-stream yet, or companies are looking for a better alternative. In theory its a great idea... no need to carry your wallet around anymore, but as other posters have pointed out you still need to carry your ID's, insurance, cash (and condoms apparently as one pointed out). And some people still question the security, as they did with online transactions and e-commerce at first. Also, some locations are more difficult to implement such as restaurants for example. It's still early. It might take off, or a better alternative is around the corner. It took Bluetooth a while to take off as well. It's been around for almost 20 years.

    Also, I would like to see something that doesn't require such a close proximity. Bluetooth Low Energy could be it, but they need to solve the pairing first.
  11. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    Exactly. Plus it's easily hackable, too open, and not safe enough for my liking.

    iOS security >>> Android security. Even the SMS flaw, is vulnerable in Android. You don't see Google moving to make a statement or fix on that :rolleyes: At least iMessage fixes that.
  12. outphase macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2009
    Parts Unknown
    I have used the embedded RFID in my credit card 1-2 times, probably at McDonald's. I have tried other places, but their readers seem to always not be on or connected. I'd want to see broader financial industry adoption before cell phones start really picking it up.
  13. nfl46 macrumors 604

    Oct 5, 2008
    I have a Nexus and I have never use. I actually disabled it. I would have never used it on my iP5.
  14. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    Insecurity concerns. When it was launched by chase in NYC I think it took a week before it was scanned and thieved. I haven't kept up with things but aside from security the privacy concerns are huge IMO. I dot need apple or google knowing every time I buy a condom.
  15. Nothlit macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2009
    If I'm going to be carrying a wallet anyway (for my driver's license, insurance cards, library card, etc.) then I might as well keep my credit card in there too. So for me, NFC is not a compelling alternative.
  16. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
  17. Tom8, Sep 13, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012

    Tom8 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2010
    I think the main problem with NFC, as far as payments is concerned, is that handset manufactures can have a "Checklist mentality" where they simply add features to tick a box, rather than having a clearly defined goal for the feature. NFC seems to suffer a lot from this, with manufactures throwing the chips into their devices, without giving it the proper support, leading to slow adoption from businesses and low usage from customers because the uses of NFC haven't been properly communicated.
  18. parrot5 macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2010
    All retailers have barcode readers for scanning all sorts of printed coupons nowadays... Scanning it from your phone is no different (just turn up the brightness please). That's enough of a reason for Apple, at least for now.


    And this. My friends disable NFC on their phones because:
    1. They don't know what it is, or
    2. They are afraid someone can push something to their device, or scan something off their device.
  19. Flux.Capacitor macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2012
    you will ALWAYS need to carry your credit card anyway, unless you know for certain that everywhere you go will accept NFC. Until it becomes that mainstream, gotta carry your CC's.
  20. kirky29 macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    Lincolnshire, England
    I read somewhere on MacRumors that here in the UK for NFC payments we're limited to £5 or less transactions. (Apparently moving up to £10 soon)

    I was a big fan of NFC, really wanted it....but after reading that it made me think...why?

    We're limited and I don't know anywhere that supports it, certainly here in my County (Lincolnshire).

    But! It still would have been pretty cool to have just added in. And eventually it'll get better and that limited raised a lot, or even removed.
  21. outphase macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2009
    Parts Unknown
    Incidentally, Passbook automatically turns up the brightness when you open the app.
  22. sixteen12 macrumors regular

    Nov 14, 2011
    Coming soon, the iCondom. Feels like I'm wearing nothing at all.
  23. ThisIsNotMe Suspended

    Aug 11, 2008
    The current solution (credit cards) do the job perfectly.
    The infrastructure for credit cards is in place.

    NFC is kidna the opposite of passbook. While passbook leverages existing infrastructure, NFC requires significant capital investment.
  24. thepro8 macrumors member


    Aug 30, 2009
    The US infrastructure is changing rapidly. For Payments, look up "EMV". There are financial incentives that are going to force retailers in to re-terminalization. Computers, cellphones, and tablets will also start acting as infrastructure for NFC. Keep in mind NFC is currently design into 100+ models of phones.

    Credit cars actually don't do the job perfectly...there are major security concerns with CC in the US...they are all going to change over the next 5 year to have secure microcontrollers in them...they will either use a contact interface or the same contactless interface that NFC uses. Also these new chip cards and NFC will add value like doing loyalty on the same device. You can also do access control, coupons, transportation, etc.
  25. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    While I agree that NFC isn't quite what it cracks out to be, it has other useful uses.

    My friends with Android phone use inexpensive NFC tags and apps. You can bump your phone to NFC tag to turn Bluetooth on or off (ideal for car), turn WiFi on or off (ideal for office), set alarm (ideal for bedroom), and so on.

    That said, Apple has a patent on location-based profile, so one may argue that NFC isn't essential for performing similar tasks.

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