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And NFC offers a bonus feature. Because NFC uses magnetic induction, the NFC antennas in gadgets can be used for wireless charging. One of Nokia's top designers has suggested that physical connectors could be eliminated on NFC phones.
NFC's tangible benefits -- secure transactions, protected device pairing, interaction with programmable tags, and wireless charging -- are fairly impressive. But often it's an intangible benefit that makes the greatest difference. Tap-and-go is likely to become one of modern life's rituals.
Ira Brodsky is the author of The History of Wireless: How Creative Minds Produced Technology for the Masses.