Google has released Android 2.3.3 to enable more near-field communication (NFC) functionality for future phones.
As we mentioned back in December, Android is not only the first major mobile OS to roll out NFC capabilities, but with a combination of the Nexus S and Google’s NFC-enabled Places stickers (on a trial run in Portland, OR now), Google is stepping to the forefront of what could be a central piece of mobile payments, and other in-person transactions involving the phone.
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With this release, Google has added:
- A comprehensive NFC reader/writer API that lets apps read and write to almost any standard NFC tag in use today.
- Advanced Intent dispatching that gives apps more control over how/when they are launched when an NFC tag comes into range
- Some limited support for peer-to-peer connection with other NFC devices
Google also mentions that all future phones that ship with Android 2.3, will ship with 2.3.3 or higher.
So with this increased focus on NFC, we’re assuming that Google 1) is getting demand for more NFC features from developers 2) sees NFC as a way to differentiate Android phones from the iPhone 3) sees NFC as a great way to not only ramp up Places, but also as both a delivery system for advertising and eventually for mobile payments.
Good and timely update, and it will very interesting to see what developers build as more of these Android phones hit the market.