NFC: Windows 8’s hidden connection to tags and devices

Near field communication is becoming more and more mainstream for embedded devices and it was inevitable it would come to Windows. Although it was rumored Windows Phone Mango would support NFC, it turns out Windows 8 have done it first and features quite an extensive API.

The Samsung developer preview slate handed out at BUILD 2011 contains a NFC chip from NXP, a company that supplies NFC to millions of credit cards and passports. Whilst this is one of the first PCs with NFC capability but certainly won’t be the last. Unfortunately NFC is not enabled in the current build of Windows 8 Developer Preview, but the hardware is ready and was demoed in private (above).

Windows 8 will sport APIs that will allow applications to launch URLs, launch applications, share links, initiate peering sessions for applications and games. Developers can also communicate via NFC, but it’s not recommended because the bandwidth is extremely limited.

The major benefit of NFC over WiFi Direct or Bluetooth LE connectivity is the fact that the other device can be passive (no power source, a business card) and does not require configuration. One tap is all it takes to make a connection and initiate data transfer.

As the Samsung developer slate is a prototype device, it requires the devices to physically touch which is not a real-world requirement (devices can be up to 8cm apart). Whilst Microsoft will be engaging with OEMs on exact hardware specifications, it’s not clear at this stage whether NFC will be a required component of all Windows 8 slates.

3 insightful thoughts

  1. 1107,Turn on the Windows P&roximity Service
    1110,Ask me to s&etup a device when detected by the Windows Proximity Service
    1113,Ask me to l&aunch applications when shared to me by another PC or device using the Windows Proximity Service
    1116,Ask me to a&cquire applications I don’t have when shared to me by another PC or device using the Windows Proximity Service

  2. Actually at Build one of the MS booths in the Exhibit center was handing out NFC business cards. You could tap the card on the back of your table and be redirected to the MS Build site. The card, which I have yet to play, allegedly with has 1K of space. The MS rep told me you could use this for redirecting to websites (e.g. LinkedIN, Twitter) or have a card that would link to the MS store to download our application.

    Ping me via email if you want a photo of the card or have questions

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