First Android NFC apps begin to appear

The first NFC apps are starting to appear in the Android Market, just weeks after the NFC-enabled ‘Gingerbread’ version of the mobile operating system made its debut.

Taglet Android NFC
TAGLET: Gets around Android's read-only limitation

Just a few weeks after the announcement of the Google Nexus S with in-built NFC and support for near field communication in the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, the first two NFC apps have become available in the Android Market.

The first is Taglet, a Japanese language NFC tag reader and information sharing app that gets round Gingerbread’s read-only limitation by allowing the user to associate data with an existing tag and hold it in an online database. When that tag is subsequently read, Taglet retrieves the stored action — a URL, Twitter handle or other data — from the cloud and acts on it. Taglet is compatible with FeliCa, Mifare and full NFC tags:

The second is EnableTable, a US-developed app that lets restaurants issue discount vouchers to customers when they settle their bill in order to drive repeat business:

“Welcome Back Coupons arrive at the end of the meal and reward repeat business,” says EnableTable’s Kevin Gallagher. “The best way to build sustainable business is to recognize loyal customers and NFC technology accurately pinpoints loyal customers inside the restaurant.”

Android NFC development kits are also now beginning to appear. Merchant360 subsidiary Mobifyer, for instance, has introduced an NFC development kit aimed at Android 2.3 Gingerbread users this week.

“We are in the business of increasing the adoption and acceptance of NFC so with the release of this mainstream phone we developed some reference applications and since we supply mobile contactless tags to companies like MoneyCell and applications for companies like Bling Nation we decided to release this as a solution allowing any Android developer to get engaged with NFC technology and increase adoption,” says Merchant360 CEO Steve McRae.

Next: Visit the NFCW Expo to find new suppliers and solutions

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