Android Pay to stop supporting legacy cards from Google Wallet on October 15

If you’re not with a bank that supports Android Pay and want to use the mobile payments system, you’d best open an account at a supported bank.Most everyone who had any sort of plastic could be on Android Pay’s predecessor mechanism, Google Wallet. When the transition from

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Facebook tests Snapchat Stories clone for Messenger

Facebook tests Snapchat Stories clone for Messenger

Facebook is mimicking one of Snapchat's most popular features, Snapchat Stories, in its Messenger chat app. The new feature, called Messenger Day, launched exclusively in Poland today.

Snapchat Stories, for the unfamiliar, is a feature that lets users share photos, videos and drawings in a timeline that disappears after 24 hours. Messenger Day works almost exactly like Snapchat Stories, according to TechCrunch.

Where Messenger Day differs from Snapchat Stories and, for that matter, Instagram Stories, is how it prompts users to use the feature. At the top of the chat list are options to quickly share how you're feeling, what you're doing and more. This makes it easier to share something quickly with all of your friends instead of managing a curated friends list.

Facebook Messenger Day screenshots

"We know that people come to Messenger to share everyday moments with friends and family," said a Facebook spokesperson speaking with TechCrunch. "In Poland we are running a small test of new ways for people to share those updates visually."

It's unclear whether Messenger Day will be available in other countries, though success in Poland may mean the feature could be released more widely.

This isn't the first time Facebook has copied Snapchat. The social network's photo sharing app, Instagram, aped Snapchat Stories by releasing Instagram Stories in August.

A smart strategy

According to TechCrunch, Facebook may have introduced Messenger Day to get users hooked on its Messenger app in hopes of preventing them from leaving to use Snapchat Stories. Facebook also has another chat app with 1 billion active users: WhatsApp. In order to keep people using its apps, Facebook has to bring popular features from competing platforms into its own.

It's also smart of Facebook to put a story feature in Messenger because its chat app is more intimate than its social network. By having Messenger Day inside a chat app, users don't have to worry about sharing the highest quality photos or videos on their Facebook wall.

Over the years, the social network has evolved into a place where users only share curated highlights about their lives instead of casually sharing thoughts and activities, something Snapchat excels at.

Facebook Messenger currently has over 1 billion active users, compared to Snapchat's 150 million. Using Messenger's immense reach, Messenger Day could prove to be a popular feature.

Where do you have to be? Check your Google Calendar events on Google Maps

Google Maps is really at it with reducing the tap count for the user experience, huh? This time around, Google Calendar gets wrapped into the mix in a new tab of the “Your Places” panel.Any event that you put in an address for on Google Calendars can simply be accessed in that space. You’ll also see a

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HTC 10 discount extended, giveaways happening on October 8 (10/08)

HTC is celebrating that time of the year again. You know how the time 10:08 is the one where it lights up the most LCD portions of a 12-hour digital clock? That’s coming October 8.To celebrate, HTC is kicking things off tomorrow with an extra $50 discount to the $100 it has already taken off the HTC 10. It will be $549 for the next week. The

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Mac Week: Your Mac simply wouldn’t be the same without the iPhone – here’s why

Mac Week: Your Mac simply wouldn't be the same without the iPhone – here's why

The iPhone's effect on the Mac

When the iPhone first launched nearly a decade ago, it and Apple's well-revived Mac computers were clearly delineated as different devices. One had just started its journey to ubiquity, whereas the other had already been on that road for decades.

But, perhaps even under your nose, Apple's phone has all but morphed the form and function of its computers over that same nine years. You might be surprised to see just how much of what's in your iPhone has been brought to the Mac.

Mac iPhone

Today, it'd be impossible to imagine what the Mac would look like without the iPhone, so here's how the Mac and iPhone became best buds over the past nine years.

This story starts with a Store

Not long after release, the iPhone's popularity absolutely exploded, it became the next major device of Apple's ecosystem for millions since the iPod. Once the App Store launched on iPhone in 2008, that snowball turned into an avalanche.

Naturally, Apple realized the insane revenue potential in its creation. Regardless, it took three years for the firm to bring its software-selling strategy to the Mac in early 2011, in the middle of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard's life span.

Mac iPhone

While the Mac App Store hasn't necessarily panned out in the same, meteoric way the iPhone version has, it clearly inspired Apple to see what else about the iPhone could improve OS X.

The literal and figurative Launchpad

In the summer of 2011, Apple launched OS X 10.7 Lion, and with it the first spate of iPhone-inspired features that would truly transform how the operating system looks and works in relation to the iPhone. The most notable of which was the Launchpad, a new means of accessing all your installed apps.

Either pressing the function key on MacBooks released post-Lion or pinching four fingers together on the touchpad summons a very familiar arrangement of apps for anyone that's used an iPad in landscape mode. From there, simply clicking on any app will launch it, and you can even rearrange your apps here and create folders – just like you can on iOS.

iPhone Mac

While this editor in particular hasn't used the feature much, being a purist, it's easy to see folks coming into the Apple world via the iPhone using the feature heavily. That probably explains why it hasn't gone anywhere in five years.

FaceTime forever fuses the iPhone and Mac

For years prior to OS X Lion, Mac users communicated with one another both via text and video over a tool known as iChat. Naturally, seeing the vast adoption of FaceTime video chat on the iPhone and iPad, Apple brought the feature to the Mac, so that all three devices could video chat natively together.

However, FaceTime didn't outright replace iChat just yet – it wasn't until OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in the summer of 2012 that the tool was swapped out for an app simply called Messages. Now, users could chat via instant message, video and even with their iPhone-toting friends via iMessage in a single app.

iPhone Mac

This release of OS X also saw a slew of iOS-inspired changes and updates. A Mac version of the iPhone's Notification Center appeared with this upgrade, as did versions of Reminders, Notes and Game Center – all of which started on iPhone and now synced with those versions via your Apple ID.

At this point, Apple's Mac interface strategy was clear: give the Mac the same basic functions and tools as the iPhone, but in such a way that's useful to Mac users and connects them back to their smartphones wherever possible. But, that ethos would too evolve in due time.

Mavericks begins to morph the UI

For a long time, the Mac interface was both adored and abhorred for its skeuomorphic approach to design, i.e. icons and design elements that look like their real-world counterparts. For instance, the Calendar app looked like an actual calendar on your Mac screen, complete with stitching and leather textures.

iPhone Mac

This editor in particular had always been quite fond of it, but it was with 2013's OS X Mavericks that Apple decided it was time to bring the Mac interface's design identity closer to that of its iOS products. The Calendar app lost its stitching and the Notes app lost its paper-like texture – and that's just for starters.

Apple's very own, iPhone-born Maps app made it over to the Mac with this release as well as iBooks, with all of the syncing and iOS-style trappings (with widened Mac functionality) that users had come to expect by that point.

And today, the two are inseparable

Releases following Mavericks, namely OS X 10.10 Yosemite of 2014, saw these design identity tweaks turn into a full-blown overhaul coinciding with a similar shift on iOS. The charming if divisive skeuomorphs were no more, and Apple bolstered that visual continuity with functional continuity in an eponymous suite of tools.

Continuity made the union of iPhone and Mac even stronger, allowing users to answer calls coming in from their iPhone on their Mac device, more readily use the iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot as well as take content from Apple's iWork apps on iOS and finish working on it in their OS X counterparts.

iPhone Mac

This release also marked the merging of yet another iPhone app with an OS X version in iOS's Photos app replacing the Mac's storied iPhoto app, and marrying the two together with a shared library of photos over iCloud.

By the time OS X 10.11 El Capitan arrived just last year in 2015, if you owned both an iPhone and a Mac, you were working in both iOS and OS X simultaneously without even knowing it.

And today, with a (truncated) return in name to macOS Sierra, Apple has finally forges the last missing link between the iPhone and the Mac: Siri. But, in the spirit of all of the Mac's iPhone-inspired upgrades, Siri behaves in ways on Mac that it doesn't on iPhone.

For instance, Siri on Mac can retrieve your system's files based on natural search queries – it can't do that on iPhone. Another example is its ability to store your results in the Mac's version of the Notification Center for later retrieval or click and drag results into other documents.

Mac iPhone

For Pete's sake, you can now even copy a piece of text or a photo on your iPhone and paste it on a nearby Mac with the Universal Clipboard feature. See what we mean about working on two operating systems without even knowing it?

Since the iPhone launched back in 2007, it has influenced the development of the Mac in almost every way – to the point where it's impossible to imagine what the Mac would be like had the iPhone never been released.

How else will the iPhone continue to inspire the Mac? That's a question only Apple knows the answer to in truth, but if we could suggest something: blow that Universal Clipboard wide open.

This article is part of TechRadar's Mac Week. This year marks not only the 10th anniversary of Apple's MacBook, but the triumphant return of macOS. So, TechRadar looks to celebrate with a week's worth of original features delving back into the Mac's past, predicting the Mac's future and exploring the Mac as it is today.

iPhone 8: evidence mounts of an OLED display

iPhone 8: evidence mounts of an OLED display

If you were disappointed by the incremental updates in the iPhone 7, you now have more reason to wait for the next iPhone.

A new report says Apple is in negotiations with Sharp to manufacture OLED displays for the iPhone 8.

An anonymous source told Bloomberg that Apple is hashing it out with Sharp to secure OLED displays for the next generation iPhone. The news comes after Sharp announced today that it will spend $570 million (about £440 million, AU$744 million) in OLED production. Sharp aims to start production of the mobile displays by June 2018, according to Bloomberg.


OLED, or organic light emitting diode, is a display technology that doesn't require backlighting like traditional liquid crystal displays (LCD). Instead, each pixel is filled with an organic compound that emits light when an electrical current is passed through it.

OLED displays allow companies like Samsung to create curved displays found on the Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy Note 7. Since OLED doesn't require a backlight, devices can be made thinner as well. For small electronics like smartwatches, OLED makes complete sense, which is why the Apple Watch 2 already has an OLED display.

Galaxy Note 7 display

While the iPhone 7's display was rated "the best mobile LCD display" by analysis company DisplayMate, it isn't the best mobile phone screen out there. That honor goes to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which features an OLED display that offers better contrast, brightness and colors.

Apple may be working with additional partners on securing a supply of OLED screens for its next iPhone, according to Ubergizmo. Apple could theoretically obtain OLED displays from companies like LG, Japan Display, or even Samsung.

The iPhone 8 might not be the only future Apple device getting an OLED upgrade. There are rumors that Apple is preparing to refresh its line of MacBook Pro laptops with OLED touch screens, too.

Five banks support Samsung Pay in Russia

MasterCard holders in Russia can now link up a selection of Samsung smartphones to Samsung Pay. The mobile payments system, which allows for NFC tap-and-go payments as well as MST cardswipe simulation payments, has expanded into its ninth global market.Alfa-Bank Banking, VTB24, MTS Bank, ...

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Hands-free Google Maps voice commands keep your hands on the wheel

So, you’re travelling to somewhere you don’t know. Easy to figure out the point A to point B of things — just set Google Maps to navigation mode, clip your device to the dashboard or vent (really, we do suggest getting a clip device) and have that Google voice tell you where to turn.But if you need to grab a pit stop or some flowers along the way, you now have the ability to yell ...

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Google Hyperdrives to Andromeda, and Blackberry Black-holes | #PNWeekly 220

Will Android and Chrome OS finally just merge already? What’s going on with Android Wear, and will Huawei jump ship to Tizen? Can Blackberry survive by giving up on in-house hardware? This week we’re joined by Trisha Hershberger to discuss these stories and answer your questions, so make sure you’re charged and ready for the Pocketnow Weekly!Watch the live video broadcast from 2:00pm Eastern on September 30th (click here for ...

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In Depth: Why our phones still aren’t powered by the sun

In Depth: Why our phones still aren't powered by the sun

Solar-powered phones

Aside from screens that are prone to smashing, and disappearing headphone jacks (ahem, Apple), one of the most annoying things about smartphones is just how quickly their lithium-ion batteries drain.

Even the latest handsets on the market, touting more advanced features than ever, rarely managed to last much longer than a day without needing to be plugged into a wall – if you're lucky.

It feels like there's an obvious solution, right above our heads: the sun offers bountiful energy, and the idea of actually utilising solar power to power our phones is far from a fantasy.

We're used to seeing photovoltaic (solar) panels dotted about on houses and office buildings, and they're being increasingly built into smaller accessories, like speakers and backpacks.

And the good news is that many manufacturers – including the big guns of Apple and Samsung – are looking to see if the sun can be the answer to our battery woes.

So if the tech is available, if research is being done into more convenient, sustainable ways of charging our phones, and if we're all increasingly on board with the idea of using solar power, then why aren't all our phones currently running off sunshine instead of the mains?

The history of solar-powered smartphones

Solar powered

Charting the history of solar-powered smartphones makes for an interesting, yet disappointingly bare, timeline.

Samsung was officially the first manufacturer to bring a solar-powered phone to market, back in 2009.

The 'Solar Guru', or Guru E1107, was launched in India to address the problem of regular power outages. The handset was able to provide between five and 10 minutes of talk time off one hour of solar charging.

Months later, Samsung brought out another solar-powered device called the Blue Earth, touted as an eco-friendly product and launched in a much wider range of markets, including the UK, but it was withdrawn shortly after – sales figures are nowhere to be found, but it's hard to imagine the technology was anything other than a failed trial.

A year later, in 2010, Puma teamed up with Sagem to bring out the Puma Phone, a handset with a solar panel that was supposed to enhance the fitness capabilities of this 'active' phone, which featured step tracking and a GPS chip.

However, the solar panel was merely there to keep the battery topped up, rather than provide the primary means of charging – the efficiency simply wasn't high enough, despite the lower power needs of this feature phone.

Solar power

Since then a number of manufacturers have looked into the feasibility of solar-powered tech. But all seem to have come up against the same problems faced by Nokia, as documented in this blog post from 2012 about the company's ongoing tests with solar-powered phones:

"When carefully positioned, the prototype phones were able, at best, to harvest enough energy to keep the phone on standby mode but with a very restricted amount of talk time. This means there's still some way to go before a workable and care-free solution is achieved."

Intriguingly, one of the issues presented by Nokia was this: "The most substantial challenge is the limited size of a phone's back cover, which restricts the extent to which the battery can be charged."

Consider how much bigger phones have become in the nearly half-decade since, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that we should be able to power a whole house from the back of a Note 7 (if it didn't set itself on fire first).

Fast-forward to the present day, and the most interesting developments in solar-powered smartphones are coming courtesy of a partnership between Kyocera and Sunpartner Technologies.

For the past two years, the companies have showed off a solar-powered phone prototype at annual mobile industry bash Mobile World Congress. The latest version of their device needs three minutes of sun in order to deliver one minute of talk time, and comes with an app to alert users about current charging conditions.

It's worth mentioning that Sunpartner Technologies have also partnered up with Alcatel, but we haven't seen anything new from that pairing since last year.

Perhaps one minute of talk time after three minutes in the sun doesn't seem like an amazing trade-off – but that's still a big improvement on the company's prototype from the year before, which promised only 15 minutes of chat for a whole two hours of charging.

What's actually rather incredible about this technology is that the solar panel is in the screen, lodged just below the touch layer, so it doesn't interfere with the design of the phone. Sunpartner claims the visibility of the display isn't compromised, and can provide 'perpetual energy'.

This might sound fairly insignificant, but it's a big deal. It means the phone can soak up the sun while you're actually using it – older devices had to be turned upside down to capture the sunshine – and because the panel is under the surface of the screen, it's way less prone to damage.

There's been no official release date for this Kyocera and Sunpartner lovechild, but sources are suggesting that we can expect to see the phone that was shown off at MWC 2016 out in the wild at some point during 2017.

Solar phones

Of course, just because they don't have anything to show us yet, that doesn't mean a number of bigger and better-known names aren't also experimenting with solar tech for their phones.

For instance, the Patently Apple website has an entire section dedicated to the subject, which suggests it's only a matter of time before one of the world's biggest brands adds solar power support to its iPhones.

What does the future hold for solar-powered tech?

The Kyocera phone could set a huge precedent for the future of solar-powered tech. If Sunpartner's transparent photovoltaic material delivers, it's likely to be snapped up by many more smartphone manufacturers than just Alcatel and Kyocera.

And there are plenty of similar materials being pioneered in the photovoltaic space. A company called Ubiquitous Energy, part of MIT, has created a kind of tech that acts as an invisible coating, designed to transform any surface into a solar panel.

Up until now, solar panels have been dark, based on the science that darker and denser materials tend to absorb more light.

Ubiquitous Energy's material, however, is comprised of organic molecules, which can absorb both ultraviolet and infrared rays. As this light isn't visible to humans, the coating looks clear.

It also doubles up as a semiconductor, which means that when photons hit its surface, they excite electrons, causing them to flow as an electrical current to power your device.

Sadly, the scale of the material currently can't generate enough energy to be practical for use in phones – which leads on to another interesting consideration, about how much energy is actually needed to create the solar-powered technology in the first place.

And that brings us to the most important question: are we there yet in terms of the technology to create a PV panel that can really charge up our phones?

We asked Kevin Schofield, Director of Project Rome, to gaze into the future a little and guess how much energy would be needed to charge up a standard iPhone, as well as the time it would take to get it, and what that solar panel would look like.

Solar power

Based on data from The Eco Experts he told us: "An iPhone needs around two hours of charge at 12w. If the PV panel is 17% efficient (according to the Eco Experts) then you would need a 70w panel (12w/17x100) in direct sunlight for two hours. A 70w panel would be 770mm x 676mm x 25mm."

"So basically you would need a 0.8m by 0.7m panel to charge an iPhone currently based on the available PV efficiency!"

In addition, we may all think we're saving the planet by not plugging into the wall – but what about the time, money, effort and, erm, electricity needed to make your shiny new solar-powered phone in the first place?

Schofield believes we've got some distance to go before the energy-saving benefits of using such a phone outweigh the environmental cost of making it in the first place.

"To truly consider environmental impact we must consider the energy, water and chemical and manufacturing processes associated with creating the PV technology," he says.

"This 'embedded' environmental impact may just tip us over the environmental benefit edge."

The other issue is how sheltered – literally – an existence we live these days. Human behavioural traits are as important as the tech when it comes to solar-powered smartphones.

For the solar-powered tech built into your phone to work, you'd need to spend a considerable amount of time outside; not necessarily in direct sunlight, but in ambient light, which would still be tricky to guarantee in certain markets.

That means people may have to change the way they behave in order to reap the solar rewards – most of us keep our phones stuffed into a pocket or a bag for much of the day, after all.

A new future

There's clearly potential for solar-powered smartphones in the future, especially if the materials currently being developed deliver.

Chinese phones

But right now, for a mixture of environmental and practical reasons, we shouldn't be expecting our next smartphone to be solar-powered – or even the one after that.

It's pretty clear where solar-powered phones will be launched first: places without ubiquitous power supplies (and brighter days) will be the proving ground for such technology, as long as the manufacturing costs continue to fall.

Cell towers have already been converted to solar power in places like India, replacing polluting diesel that require constant refuelling – if the same could be added to phones, it would revolutionise services for areas with limited power supplies, so the motivation to create solar-powered phones (or at least photovoltaic charging stations) is high.

In the meantime, if you're keen to be more environmentally-friendly when it comes to tech, it might be a smart move to use electricity generated from your rooftop PV panels until the smartphone market has caught up.

It’s official: LeEco will break US boundaries on October 19 to expand several products and services

They teased, and previewed, and teased again until they had no choice and no play left but to confirm a date and venue. China’s rising tech stars over at LeEco (formerly LeTV), under the supervision of several Samsung, Huawei and ...

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Google brings Waze Carpool pilot to San Francisco, but Uber has nothing to worry about

Not another barely legal so-called ridesharing service to stir the traditional taxi pot. Well, no, because off the bat, Google appears to be enforcing strict rules and regulations for the Waze Carpool program, consisting of a free Android and iOS Waze Rider app, to ensure its drivers aren’t tempted to quit their day jobs.In fact, this specifically targets people who use their personal automobiles first and foremost to get to and from work in the morning and evening, pairing them up to save everyone a little money, and support a “greener commute.”Only available across the greater San ...

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Google brings Waze Carpool pilot to San Francisco, but Uber has nothing to worry about

Not another barely legal so-called ridesharing service to stir the traditional taxi pot. Well, no, because off the bat, Google appears to be enforcing strict rules and regulations for the Waze Carpool program, consisting of a free Android and iOS Waze Rider app, to ensure its drivers aren’t tempted to quit their day jobs.In fact, this specifically targets people who use their personal automobiles first and foremost to get to and from work in the morning and evening, pairing them up to save everyone a little money, and support a “greener commute.”Only available across the greater San ...

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In Depth: Contact-less: NFC is good for payments but not much else

In Depth: Contact-less: NFC is good for payments but not much else

No future clarity

NFC (short for Near Field Communication) has long been tipped to change our lives for good, from how we shop to the way we exchange information.

While NFC is part of our daily routines, that's mainly in the form of contactless payments and, erm, toys – beyond that things are pretty limited. Weren't we promised more?

Google 'NFC' and you'll see there are all kinds of other ways startups and big brands are trying to make NFC happen. As of yet, the successful use cases are pretty rare.

For those unfamiliar with NFC, it's a type of wireless data transfer. It's able to detect and enable tech (within close proximity) to communicate without the need for additional forms of connection – no internet or Bluetooth required here.

  • What is NFC? Everything you need to know

You'll find NFC in your contactless bank card, and in the same way that augmented reality has become synonymous with Snapchat filters, you'd be forgiven for thinking NFC is all about payments.

The thing is, the convenience it offers means there have been plenty of interesting applications and prototypes in the past, yet few seem to have had mainstream appeal.

NFC in 2016


If you define success by mainstream pick-up, then the most successful application of NFC has been in using our debit and credit cards for contactless payments. Geoff Barraclough, Head of Proposition at EVO Payments International, told us:

"It's taken some years to take hold, but now we're seeing £2bn per month spent on contactless cards in the UK and it's growing swiftly. Waitrose, for example, is now reporting 35% of transactions on contactless."

In London, meanwhile, the option to leave your Oyster card at home and use a bank card to tap in and out instead has had high adoption rates. According to TfL, more than 30 percent of all pay-as-you-go journeys were made with contactless cards.

But for many, NFC is synonymous with smartphones, and they're changing the way we pay too. Recent stats suggest those using the likes of Apple Pay are often signing up and trialling the service, introducing them to the benefits of paying contactless.

But, out of 20 people who sign up for Apple Pay, only one of them will actually continue to use the service afterwards, so drop-off rates are just as high.

NFC has been used a lot in the 'toys to life' gaming accessory space, which enables gamers to essentially move around small objects offline and have them remember gaming narrative and interact in the same way in the game.

Nintendo's amiibo and other NFC-enabled figurines from the likes of Disney's Infinity, and Activision's Skylanders, are great examples of how NFC can be applied far beyond payments, bridging the gap between gaming and real-life toys.

According to reports, Nintendo sold a staggering 24.7 million Amiibo figures during the last fiscal year, and those numbers are only expected to rise if the 'toys to life' trend continues to gain momentum – it's sustained consumer interest for a few years now, so there's no saying that won't continue.

As NFC is such a crucial element of how the figurines, work, behave and have such mainstream appeal, along with payments this proves the sustainability of this kind of tech.

Another application of NFC you might have heard of is NFC tags - either stickers or dedicated tags created to let you interact with advertising, for instance. The latter has been stuck on widespread bus stops, but despite promising 'coming soon' advertising promotions that those savvy enough to tap on will get access, the system has utterly failed to catch on.

Personal tags are also still, years after being introduced, a 'potential' tech. They should be amazing, letting you start music or fire up car-specific functions when docking your phone in your vehicle, but it too hasn't caught on due to a complex set-up.

Many devices brandish the NFC logo, which means that by holding your smartphone up to them, you'll be able to connect via Bluetooth much faster than pairing devices manually.

You may not have noticed that it's been baked into every iteration of Google's mobile OS since Android 4.0 Ice Cream, but Android Beam is an app designed to make the most of NFC, enabling the sharing of pretty much anything, whether it's a contact card, picture, web page or YouTube link.

What does the future hold for NFC payments?


When it comes to the near future of NFC, we can expect to see contactless payments taking off even more—in terms of both consumer and retailer adoption rates. In fact, recent data from Juniper Research suggests the global value of mobile and wearable contactless payments is expected to reach $95 billion annually by 2018, up from less than $35 billion last year.

All the experts we spoke to agree that for NFC to have staying power in either phones or contactless cards it needs to make the in-store retail experience better, or make paying more convenient.

EVO Payments' Barraclough argues that this is why smartphone payment systems haven't yet taken off as much as has been expected.

"Apple Pay is clever, but usage is low as it's slower and less convenient than tapping a plastic bank card. It's the same for Android Pay and Samsung Pay," he says.

"These services are wonderful for making in-app payments but don't improve the customer experience in-store."

Considerable work needs to be put into either improving this in-store experience, or changing the user journey so people don't fall back into their old ways.

Jeanette Tena-Jones, VP, Payments and Loyalty at MBNA, says one of the big things needed in order for contactless payments to really take off is to get those who aren't early adopters to feel comfortable with a different payment method – and give them an incentive to try it out.

"Future solutions will need to provide things beyond payments to become mainstream. Integration with loyalty and membership cards is the clear choice but that won't be enough."

When it comes to smartphone payments, we've already seen Apple introduce a £5 iTunes gift card for those who use Apple Pay because it's so eager to make the contactless payment system second nature. But users ingrained in their habits will likely need more of a push.

Losing the leather

Another answer, Tena-Jones suggests, would be to add NFC tech to a wider 'digital wallet' proposition.

She says: "Our hectic lifestyles [mean] we might all like to have solutions that allow us to… read, chat, browse, play and shop so NFC payments will need to be part of a wide digital wallet proposition to break some of the barriers and achieve mass adoption in the future."

The idea of a digital wallet has been around for decades, and NFC has the potential to activate it - imagine being able to send sensitive medical data, financial information or just trade Pokemon by tapping phones together, confirmed by your own biometric data.

The convenience would be the biggest draw – but the issue is making sure the systems exist to enable the tech, which feels like an impossible target right now.

Having said that, right now financial experts are agreed that it's still the best kind of tech for payments. So there's no reason why it won't continue to be the go-to tech for transactions.

Barraclough told us: "There's no simpler way to pay [than contactless], the technology is tested, deployed and globally interoperable.

"Your contactless bank card will work in Australia just as easily as Aberdeen. Anything involving mobile phones, apps, beacons, check-ins and two-factor security will be slower and less elegant than this."

What about wearables?


Now that the Apple Watch allows you to pay with Apple Pay, and with Fitbit having bought wearable payments tech from financial tech startup Coin earlier this year, wearables are becoming a viable way to pay on the go, offering convenience by always being around.

Fitbit is yet to reveal official details, but given that it still sells more wearables than any other company (yep, including Apple) this could be the tie-in that'll make using wearables to pay for stuff take off in a big way.

And in the future NFC could well become part of your body, rather than being attached to a device. Earlier this year, Microsoft Research and MIT's Media Lab published details of Tattio, a temporary tattoo that contains NFC tags that can act as your digital identity – and if people started to implant the chip onto their person, the ecosystem would begin to flourish pretty swiftly.

The future

If NFC is going to grow in usage, we'll need daily functions that force it to become a 'mandatory' technology in our lives.

And there are signs that it's moving into new areas: for instance, a number of hotel chains are enabling guests to get into their rooms with their phones using NFC.

It's similar to contactless payments – ditch that swiping room key (or actual key) and use your phone instead.

The huge appeal here is that, if it's done right, you can bypass the front desk entirely. Even those wary of using their phones for paying or getting on flights might like the appeal of cutting down on queueing, and having to go through a lengthy check in process after a long-haul flight.

If that benefit could be marketed well – and the tech works seamlessly – these simple security applications of NFC could become second nature as we travel.

Enhancing the retail experience

One space in which NFC is often peddled out as 'revolutionary' is in product packaging – but it doesn't seem to be that way right now. Brands pushing NFC-loaded packaging as giving consumers a 'better experience' by allowing them to find out more about their products hardly seems futuristic.

If tapping a jar of coffee we've bought to our smartphone triggered the kettle to start boiling it would be cool – but that would require a unified system that every device works to, and we're a long way from that.


A contactless future?

What we need are NFC solutions that are connected to wider strategies, so they feel less like standalone solutions and more integral to the running of our day-to-day lives.

To be properly part of our future, NFC needs to become an integral part of smart homes and connected ecosystems, where it's currently just a novel accessory beyond payments.

All of the experts we spoke to agreed NFC payments would become more successful when a 'digital wallet' built for all of our important data and our day-to-day tasks becomes a reality. The technology is in a strange position - a mainstay in smartphones for years, but (beyond contactless payments, which still aren't any more useful than a bank card) largely a luxury addition.

Barraclough doesn't imagine contactless payments will be on the way out anytime soon, nor gravitate towards being only on smartphones:

"Human behaviour changes at a glacial pace when it comes to payments. I fully expect us still to be using contactless bank cards in 10 years time.

But he agrees that the future of NFC calls for some streamlining and integration, so we could use it for all manner of purposes and, crucially, not have to worry about carrying anything extra around:

"However, the card credentials will be embedded in our clothing and accessories so they'll be no need to take a wallet when you go for a jog.

"These credentials will also be used for access control at home and work as well as authenticating us for gym membership, library books and a host of other everyday uses."

The future? It still feels like NFC is being endlessly trialled years after launch, and when it comes to mainstream adoption, gaming and payments are the only two spaces that actually seem to have short-term potential.

The biggest hurdle doesn't seem to be the tech itself, but convincing people to try it and, crucially, changing their habitual behaviour so they continue to try it and don't fall back on older solutions.