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Thursday, 20 October 2011 12:00

Android 4.0 Beam underwhelms

Written by Fuad Abazovic

Touch the phone in wireless age, really?

Earlier this week Google showed off its new Android Beam feature and if you haven't see it, you can check this official Ice Cream Sandwich announcement, here. If you don't have an hour you can skip to 53:00 and see Android Beam in action.

Then there is NFC, and Non Functional Creation is not what the abbreviation stands for. NFC is basically the way to securely pay for something in about 17 stores in the US that support the new technology. Give it a few years and it might become popular, but it's good to know that you have it. It is currently useful as much as a spare tire, it’s good to have one, but normally most of you won't change it in a lifetime. (You did. On my car… While I was busy making some rather blasphemous remarks. sub.ed.)

NFC gave the Android team the idea to come up with Beam. You need to spoon your phone of the back of the other phone and voila, it will send you a link on the page one reads, it will direct you to an application on market where you can download it.

It's a nice feature, but we don't like the touching part. In late 2011, almost 2012, phones should not be touching each other, it should be wireless, all nicely secured via e.g. WLAN or Bluetooth if it must. Touching phones is beyond me, but obviously NFC has a very short range and had to be like that. However, if it’s ok for Apple users to flirt with their phones, it should also be ok for Android users to let their phones spoon. Perhaps I am simply getting too old to understand these new “trends”.

Most Android 4.0 features are pretty cool and many will find a good use for Beam, but in Stark Trek beaming didn't involve any touching, it was wireless transport of human bodies or goods, and the emphasis is on wireless. We urge Google managers to do their homework and watch some Star Trek. It worked out well for Apple and their iPad.

Comments are always appreciated, regardless if you agree or disagree, but we just don't see NFC catching on over night.

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0 #1 STRESS 2011-10-20 12:24
I can't believe it but for once I agree with Fuad. I don't think NFC gets anywhere, also the security risks are enormous.
+6 #2 FakeJ 2011-10-20 14:14
Old man Fuad "Get off my lawn you damn kids!"

1) Off course NFC is not going to catch on overnight, you needed a whole article for that? There are very few phones that support it, which is the problem with any new standard.

2) Tap-to-pay credit card machines are everywhere, when once they seemed like a crazy idea. Security on RFID is way worse than with NFC (iirc).

3)We all know that once it is in Apple products it will catch on. Thats a fact, not a opinion. It'll be the "imagic wand" or some crap and people will eat it up.

4)Maybe if they put it in a Nvidia product you'd like it more?
+1 #3 nele 2011-10-20 15:06
Yes, it will probably take years for NFC to catch on, but it has a lot of potential... It's a one-stop solution that could be used for much more than buying groceries and stuff, but right now it's just a gimmick and Google will have to do a lot more to make it relevant.

As for Beam, nope, I think it has no future at all. Think about it, you have to have two phones really close to each other which means you basically can't use it for anything that involves any tinkering on the phone. You just can't use it from the palm of your hand which makes it a bit messy and pointless.
+2 #4 p3ngwin 2011-10-20 16:05
NFC is used in Asia for nearly 15 years, in hotels, restaurants, taxis, vending machines, public transport, etc and is part of every-day life. Asian E-Commerce is a reality in a way that the West can barely grasp.

how many other people in the history of invention lacked vision and asked "what's it useful for?"

do you want to go back to no internet, no cars, no radio or TV, no computing devices because of no transistors, no boats, no aeroplanes, etc ?

NFC is already in many pay-points, some pay-point makers already make ALL their models with NFC, it's sitting there waiting for the rest of the infrastructure to complete the puzzle. the other part of the puzzle is the digital assistant/wallet.

Other parts of the world have it, adapt or die.
0 #5 a1927 2011-10-20 16:22
Don't you think it makes sense to read an article before commenting on it? While it is clear the author is not in love with NFC, the article is not about NFC per se, i.e. not about payment, ATMs, cards and whatever else you mentioned in your [quite irrelevant] comments.
0 #6 p3ngwin 2011-10-20 18:00
Quoting a1927:
Don't you think it makes sense to read an article before .... article is not about NFC per se, i.e. not about payment, ATMs, cards and whatever else you mentioned in your [quite irrelevant] comments.

his first paragraph slams NFC, ending the article with "...but we just don't see NFC catching on over night."

he clearly means the technology by principle, and that's why i asserted that as much as he may think it's "currently useful as much as a spare tire, it’s good to have one, but normally most of you won't change it in a lifetime", i assert that it is already taking over physical money as demonstrated by other parts of the world that embrace it.

he thinks NFC is useless, i disagree.
-2 #7 CJG 2011-10-21 04:36
Android to use secure data lol!I can copy all core info from a mobile android phone in under 10 min(using a junky htc mogul booting on unix via beacon)!!!

All the free malware infested apps for android lol... just send me ur money atleast u know ill put it to good use!!! NO THANKS you kids can keep your droid phones.....
0 #8 STRESS 2011-10-21 12:31
CA$H is king and it will be the only way of payment soon after all the banks have collapsed which is just a matter of months now

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