NFC Advances In November

November Was A Busy Month

Please excuse the dearth of blog posts this month, but it’s been a very busy time around the office.  In the last three weeks I have . . .

  • Spoken on NFC and Mobile Payments at the Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) conference in New York.  It was a good conference despite Hurricane Sandy and the unexpected snowstorm.  The folks at JDEvents worked hard to make sure things went smoothly and they are to be complemented on their good work.  On another note, JDEvents has canceled the Las Vegas CETW show in the Spring. I think they made a very good decision to focus on the New York show.  Kudos to Joel, Lawrence and team on making the hard, but bold, decision.
  • Written three soon-to-be published articles: One for Signage Solutions Magazine on how NFC will change the shopping experience, another for Transaction World Magazine on the winning formula for the success of mobile payments and another for RTC Magazine on the current state of mobile and its implications to digital signage. If you’d like a copy of one or more of these, email me at slgurley@pyrim.com, and I’ll be glad to send you a copy once they’re published.
  • Supported the development of a town-hall style webinar that is focused on Mobile/Digital Signage Integration.  This event is scheduled for Thursday, December 13th at 2:00 pm EST.   The event is being sponsored by Digital Signage Connection.  I will be serving as the moderator of the event and am looking forward to some great discussions.  Please join us to learn how Servus Credit Union, MetroPCS, Columbus Regional Airport Authority and The John Marshal Law School have either implemented a convergent solution or are in the process of evaluating a convergent solution.
  • Supported the development of two webinars for the Digital Screenmedia Association.  One on NFC and the other on Showrooming.  We in the DSA Mobile Committee hope to launch these after the first of the year.  We’re working hard to get the retailer perspective on both subjects.  If you’re in retail or have relationships with a retailer, we could use your help.  Feel free to contact me to discuss the opportunity.
  • Continued to work on the “big” project that forms the basis of my new start-up.  Actually, it’s not a startup per-se, but that’s all I’m going to say about that for right now.  More to come on that at a later time.

NFC Advances In November

It has been an interesting few weeks for NFC. The Samsung Galaxy Note II, Nokia Lumia 920, HTC Windows 8X and HTC Droid DNA finally hit the U.S. market.  All four are NFC-enabled phones and have had a high degree of visibility connected with their launch.   For example, Verizon announced that the HTC Droid DNA will be their flagship phone for the Holidays. The Lumia 920 and HTC Windows 8X are flagship phones for the Windows 8 launch and are being heavily promoted by AT&T. The Galaxy Note II sold over 3million units in the first 37 hours of availability, and the Samsung Galaxy S III, another NFC-enabled phone, just topped 30 million units sold since its June release.  It’s clear that NFC-enabled phones are well positioned to take off in 2013.

In terms of noteworthy NFC deployments, the December issues of Marie Claire magazine will include an NFC-readable advertisement for the UK’s Nuffield Health.  Microsoft’s Halo 4 is being promoted via NFC-readable smartposters, and the Samsung-sponsored NFC-readable smartposter campaign continues to expand into more malls, airports and theaters.

In terms of interesting NFC news, Google announced this month that Android 4.2 will support a technology stack for reading Kovio’s NFC tags.  If you’re not familiar with Kovio, they have a technology for creating printable tags.  This technology, if it delivers as advertised, would allow NFC tags to be printed on just about anything for as little as pennies a tag.  Can you say: “Goodbye QRCodes!”.

Microsoft just released Windows Phone 8 and they have made it clear that NFC is a key element of their strategy.  In fact, during its launch, Steve Ballmer called out NFC-support as a key feature of the new operating system.  As a corollary to the Microsoft announcement, it was rumored that Apple will release an iPhone 5S this coming Spring.  It was further rumored that this phone WILL have NFC.  Whether it’s true or not, we’ll just have to wait and see.

A Quick Look at the Nokia 920 and Samsung Galaxy Note II

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve taken a hands-on look at the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Samsung Galaxy Note II.  Here’s a brief synopsis of our observations.

The Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone is the first Windows 8 device that we’ve used.  Great phone!!!   We found Windows 8 to be easy to use and the active tiles provide a pleasurable user experience.  The phone itself feels rock solid.  It should be noted that I WILL be using this phone as my primary phone for the next few weeks.  I will be documenting (and tweeting) about what it takes to move from the Apple ecosystem to the Windows 8 ecosystem.  As I noted in my previous post, I’m already a fan of the Surface tablet so I look forward to living with Windows Phone 8 for a while.  Look for my tweets and blog posts on the transition to Windows 8 at @steve_gurley.  At this point, one has to wonder if this transition will be permanent or temporary; I like this Lumia 920 a lot.

The Samsung Note II…. Well, what can we say about a phone that sold over 3 million units in the first 37 hours of its release?  We’ve been testing it and it has gotten a resounding thumbs-up from our tester.  Unfortunately it crashed once, but that didn’t seem to dissuade our tester from endorsing it as it recovered quickly and seamlessly.  The size of the device is not my cup of tea as it falls within phablet territory (part phone, part tablet), but others, like our tester, love the larger screen.  Our tester said it made mobile browsing quite pleasurable.  It is a very light device, but almost too light for my liking.  It’s so light that it, in my opinion, has a “cheap” feel to it.  This is very unlike the Nokia 920, which feels “substantial”.  It should be noted (pardon the pun), however, that the Note II has an amazing feature-set.  I won’t go into that here, but if you’re used to an iPhone, the Note feature-set will blow you away.

Final Thoughts 

We like the new phones that we tested, but people are not only buying phones these days, they’re buying mobile ecosystems.  As mentioned earlier, over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about transitioning from the Apple eco-system to the Microsoft ecosystem.  I’ll document my experience, both the good and bad.  Stay tuned for more.

Well, that’s about it for this post.  Don’t forget to:

  • Request a copy of my upcoming articles
  • Sign up for DSE 2013 and our session on mobile
  • Request a notification for the upcoming DSA Webinars
  • If you’re in retail, help us out with your thoughts on NFC and Showrooming
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