Just the other day, my colleague and I indulged in memories of what phones each of us used before and what was unusual in them in comparison with other phones of that period and modern ones. And I remembered how almost ten years ago, while on a business trip in the glorious city of Volgograd, I argued with one of my acquaintances about the need for NFC technology in the phone.
Then this technology was a novelty even to me, already in those days an inveterate gadget addict, let alone people who did not suffer from gadget addiction. I tried to prove to a person who has nothing to do with the world of gadgets that this is the future, and I reasoned how cool it would be if in the future all phones were equipped with this function, and not only this, but also a host of others. To which an acquaintance countered with absolutely practical arguments, the main idea of which can be expressed in one phrase: 'Well, now you have this NFC and a bunch of other absolutely unnecessary functions, and what's the use? Go use them. Nobody needs it, the phone has to be the phone. '
I even remember my emotions at that moment, I was so offended by the realization that no matter how much I wanted otherwise, he turned out to be right all around – most of the heaped up functionality of my new smartphone at that time (Nokia 6212 classic) had no practical use in the realities of those years.
And all my reasoning that one day it will all work in full force, broke down on the pragmatic: “When will it still be and whether it will be at all.”
And now, many years later, history has put everything in its place. The telephone (smartphone) has become the focus of technology and from a utilitarian means of communication has turned into a multimedia center, without which it is difficult to imagine a modern person. And that my phone has sunk into oblivion, irrevocably outdated and giving way to new, powerful and functional devices.
However, discussions about whether an electronic device needs an NFC module or not does not subside today. And if, in the case of budget models, the lack of NFC can be explained by the issues of economy and artificial division of the model range into price segments, then when it comes to flagships, which are deprived of the already familiar functionality of contactless payment, forgetful manufacturers are generously paid 'for nuts' from potential buyers .
A prime example is the company Meizu, which, despite criticism of the controversial decision to abandon NFC in its flagships, continues to ignore the voice of the people demanding the return of the contactless payment function.
No less strange is the decision of another, considered passionate, electronics manufacturer – Xiaomi. The company considered it the right decision to deprive the Pocophone F1 of the NFC module. Among the arguments voiced by company representatives is the unpopularity of NFC payments in the company's native Chinese market. Perhaps it made sense, but judging by the reviews on the network, there are quite a few people who refused to buy the Pokofon precisely because of the lack of NFC.
But if everything is more or less clear with smartphones and the presence or absence of NFC can be quite simply solved by installing
In the next generations of devices, a necessary component supported at the operating system level, then a much more serious problem began to emerge with wearable electronics, which are slowly but inevitably conquering the minds, and therefore the pockets of customers. The situation is such that today, when a new wearable device comes out from Xiaomi, Huawei, Honor, Samsung, Apple one of the important questions, determining the choice, the question becomes about the availability of NFC and the ability to make purchases through a bracelet or watch.
On the forums, dozens of pages of discussion of the new gadget in the version with and without NFC are quickly typed. A good example is the appearance on the market of the fitness bracelet Xiaomi Mi Band 3 in two versions, with and without NFC.
Very quickly, one of the main questions became a question that haunted many potential buyers – whether contactless payments in the version with NFC will work in Russia.
The bottom line is that they won't. And the problem here is somewhat deeper than the lack of the necessary software. We are talking about a license to use Google Pay, which still needs to be obtained. Well, or even about launching your own payment system with all the ensuing problems. In addition, if we talk about bracelets Xiaomi, then even the version with NFC, created for the domestic Chinese market, even in that same China, only supports paying for public transport. Despite this, there are those who do not believe the reviews and overpay in the hope of being able to pay for purchases with a bracelet.
Yes, there are tons of smartwatches that support the ability to pay using proprietary payment systems, such as Samsung Pay in the Gear series, Apple Pay in the watch Apple Watch. But this is not exactly what many users would like, since the watch is still not a fitness bracelet, and their use case is slightly different.
The question is when will there be devices that combine the best qualities of bracelets, such as high battery life, miniature size, and the convenience of watches with powerful software that allows contactless payments. After all, if such devices become widespread, then the lack of NFC in a smartphone will not be such a critical drawback, which is today for an ever-growing group of potential buyers – people are starting to get involved in the process of using technology and, having tasted the convenience, are no longer ready to sacrifice it.
Even among my acquaintances, there were quite a few of those who, just yesterday, treated all these 'newfangled things' with a fair amount of skepticism and prejudice, and having tried it, today everyone around them tells about the convenience and necessity of contactless payments.
As for me, I definitely won't buy a smartphone that doesn't have NFC. I am so used to paying by phone that I can no longer imagine myself without this opportunity, and I noticed a tendency to easily 'forget' my wallet when I have to leave the house to shop. It is for this, and only for this reason, that I did not buy Meizu 16th at one time, although in all other respects I really, really liked this model and was my favorite when choosing the next smartphone. But if I had a fitness bracelet with NFC support and contactless payments, then perhaps my next smartphone would be exactly Meizu 16th.
Despite the fact that today the cards of most banks are equipped with an NFC module, which means they support contactless payments, carrying a card with me is not as convenient as wearing a fitness bracelet on my hand, which I wear regardless of whether I make contactless payments or not.
Is there an alternative way out of the situation? If only handicraft. But we are no stranger to tinkering. It is for this purpose that an additional card was recently issued to the main bank account.
The purpose of this card is only one – to become a donor of an NFC chip, which I will later try to integrate into my fitness bracelet, making it a kind of hybrid of a contactless bank card and a smart watch. We will find out very soon whether the experiment will be successful. This will largely depend on the directness of my hands, as well as on which version of the NFC chip is used in my bank cards.
The test will be a fitness bracelet Xiaomi Mi Band 3, which, due to its design, is more suitable for these purposes than Honor Band 4.
And also because I already managed to sell Honor Band 4 – I could not put up with duplicate notifications and interface freezes. ?
Instead of a conclusion, I would like to ask you, dear readers, how necessary is the contactless payment function in a smartphone for you and are you ready to buy a phone without it?
And another question – how much easier will it be for you to buy a phone without NFC if you have a wearable device, for example, a fitness bracelet, in which the possibility of contactless payments will be present?