Clever Bluetooth sticker brings NFC to any smartphone for £20
16th Feb 2011 | 15:40
NFC on your iPhone 4, anyone?
A French company has developed a near field communications sticker that gives any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone NFC capabilities, including contactless payments.
That means you could feasibly enjoy Nexus S-style NFC without having to shell out for a new smartphone.
There aren't many NFC-enabled smartphones around at the moment – the Google Nexus S and Samsung Galaxy S2 are the notable ones – although many are rumoured to be en route to shop floors, including Apple's iPhone 5.
But if you don't fancy a £500 upgrade or a £35 contract hanging over you for the rest of your life, the simple £21 Twinlinx MyMax NFC sticker could be all you need.
Using the handset's Bluetooth connection, the sticker can either be used with external readers (like Oyster gates and contactless payment points) or as a reader or for taking information from an NFC code (e.g. on an advert).
When reading or writing information to the phone the user has to physically switch the Bluetooth on, which requires just a simple press of the sticker.
Even this small inconvenience could soon be a thing of the past, however: at a demo of the technology at Mobile World Congress, Twinlinx told TechRadar that it is working on a new model that automatically wakes up when needed.
The company also revealed that the price should drop by around €5 (£4) in 2012.
Ok, so it's a bit of a shame to whack a sizable sticker on the rear of your beautifully designed iPhone 4 or HTC Desire HD (although you don't need the plastic pouch shown above), but as NFC takes off, the benefits should outweigh the inconvenience.
We've already had word that retailers and networks are looking to install card readers and contactless payment points around the country, meaning the mobile wallet is set to take off in the UK.
Steve Lewis, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Twinlinx, told us, "By 2015, Frost and Sullivan predicts that 50 per cent of all phones will be NFC – but that still leaves half without the capability. That could be billions of phones, and not everyone wants a high-end smartphone which will cost hundreds of Euros."
The MyMax NFC sticker was first launched in France last year, but Twinlinx has volume shipments planned for 2011, some of which will hopefully reach our fair UK shores.