1. Tech

    LG Announces a Voice-Activated and NFC-Enabled Air Conditioner Because They Can

    As proof that adding Near Field Communication (NFC) to anything makes that thing inherently more interesting, LG has announced an NFC-enabled and voice-activated air conditioner. Why? Because remember in the 80's when companies started putting digital clocks on everything just because they could? That's apparently what NFC is going to be for this decade. We expect to see a lot more things like this in the near future, and it just might be crazy enough to work.

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  2. Tech

    Smartphone App Can Reset Subway Cards, Debunks No Such Thing as a Free Ride

    There's been a number of horror stories associated with radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC) standards over the years. From the idea that random strangers could pick up any signals that, say, your credit card emitted from its embedded RFID chip, to the conspiracy theories about somehow tracking individuals with RFID-enabled clothing, the stories vary wildly, but one thing's certain: Folks are wary of this technology's implications. Unfortunately, it appears that New Jersey and San Francisco weren't too concerned, as their transit systems can be fooled by smartphones fiddling with the RFIDs present in their metro cards, providing unlimited rides.

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  3. Tech

    Report: Apple Wants in on the Mobile Payments Biz

    We've previously reported on Square, the mobile payment system which turns your smartphone into a credit card scanner. While Square and its ilk make early adopter tech geeks drool, they're probably at best a few years off from making any sort of dent in the mass market. But a Bloomberg report today has it that mobile payments could be quickly slingshotted into the mainstream, thanks to support from Apple. Per the report, the next-generation AT&T iPhone and the iPad 2 will be equipped with Near-Field Communication (NFC) chips, allowing them to transmit information at a distance of up to 4 inches, ideal for transactions but also potentially applicable to sharing photos, music, and other data. Arguably more elegant than Square's technology, which still involves swiping a physical, plastic card, NFC is nothing new -- Google's Nexus S has built-in NFC chips -- but what would be new is plugging it into a robust, trusted payments system: Namely, Apple's iTunes store. MG Siegler summarizes:

    Enter Apple. The technology giant does have a proven payment system. One with over 100 million accounts set up with built-in credit card access. But those interviewed by Bloomberg for the story suggest that Apple aims to go farther with NFC: The main goal for Apple would be to get a piece of the $6.2 trillion Americans spend each year on goods and services, Crone said. Today, the company pays credit-card processing fees on every purchase from iTunes. By encouraging consumers to use cheaper methods — such as tapping their bank accounts directly, which is how many purchases are made via PayPal — Apple could cut its own costs and those of retailers selling Apple products.
    And why would customers do that instead of using a credit card? Because a new piece of regulation may soon make it cheaper to pay via debit rather than credit. Apple could be in the right place at the right time with this.
    (Bloomberg via Techmeme)

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