NFC is nothing new to Android users who have enjoyed using the beaming tech since the late days of 2011 when it was introduced with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Since then the technology has been placed on seemingly every phone possible, even finally making its way to Apple products as of last year’s launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. This year a new Apple product was added with the tech, the Apple Watch, and it was used in a way we’ve seen Google Wallet used since its inception; mobile payments. Apple Pay can be used either on the iPhone or the Apple Watch and both products use NFC to deliver your financial payment information to a retailer’s card machine.
Now it looks like Samsung, who was the original adopter of the NFC technology on the Nexus S back in 2010, is set to put it in their next smartwatch according to rumors. This would likely be used with Samsung Pay as Samsung smartwatches are normally restricted to being used on Samsung devices only, of course with the exception of the Gear Live which run’s Google’s own Android Wear platform. It’s probably not likely we’ll see Android Pay integration although Samsung have been making some surprising moves lately in order to get back in the good graces of its customers, especially the enthusiast crowd who left them quite some time ago.
NFC harbors plenty of potential for others uses too, not just mobile payments. NFC is often used for pairing accessories like Bluetooth headsets and speakers, smartwatches themselves and a host of other devices where it makes sense to just touch to pair instead of searching and entering PIN codes. We’ve heard quite a bit about Samsung’s next big smartwatch, codenamed the Orbis, which will feature a round display and plenty of custom Samsung flair thrown in too. It’s likely that the Orbis will be announced at Samsung’s next Unpacked event, traditionally held at IFA in Berlin in the first week of September, so we won’t have long to see exactly what Samsung has been cooking up. After all it’s been quite some time since they launched the Gear 2 and Gear Live, and while the Gear S was launched later in the year that became more of a niche product in the end.