NFC and Android
With the Android version 2.3 Gingerbread, Near Field Communication (NFC) found its way into the first Android smartphones. It started at the end of 2010 with the Google Nexus S, which was produced by Samsung. It was the first smartphone with Android Gingerbread and at the same time the first that supported NFC on the hardware and software side. Of course, this was not without reason: a few months later, Google presented its payment service Google Wallet, which, among other things, enables fast payment via NFC. Today, this service is called Google Pay and is becoming more and more relevant to everyday life. While the interim Android version Honycomb did not bring any innovations in this direction, the first smartphone with the new version Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich came out at the end of 2011. This was the Galaxy Nexus, which was manufactured by Samsung, just like the Nexus S. With this a new and very useful NFC feature moved into the Android OS: Android Beam. It was the simple possibility to exchange data between two Android devices via NFC.
Today this feature is considered obsolete. The share service can be implemented more quickly and easily by using WiFi and GPS (see "AirDrop" in the iOS on current iPhones). Currently, the FastShare feature is under development and will most likely be integrated into current Android phones soon. The devices no longer have to be placed on top of each other and the transfer can also take place over a certain distance. NFC can thus concentrate on its strengths: Exchange of small amounts of data over a short distance, such as with NFC tags or when paying.
With Google Pay, you can pay with your smartphone using NFC, so that many bank cards no longer need to be taken out to pay. The principle: Google stores previous means of payment (e.g. the credit card, Gircocards and PayPal access data) on its servers in the cloud, while only the NFC-enabled mobile phone is needed for the actual payment process. The bank cards can be connected to the smartphone or Google Pay through an NFC connection. Payment is therefore made by holding the mobile phone to a corresponding counter device using NFC.
Android Beam and FastShare
Since the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Android Beam allows data to be shared quickly and easily between two devices using NFC. Meanwhile Android Beam is considered to be replaced by FastShare since Android Q. This feature offers the same possibilities of file exchange, but much faster and less complicated, because the devices are no longer placed exactly on top of each other and do not have to touch each other directly
Android users who are interested in NFC can consider themselves as lucky because the Google Play Store offers a wide selection of NFC apps, for example, to encode and read NFC tags. In our app section, we provide you with a short overview about the apps for encoding NFC tags we consider as most useful.