It turns out that the NFC capabilities in Android Gingerbread phones isn’t quite everything we thought it would be. According to a blog post by Jaroslav Stekl on the website Android Police, the NFC with Gingerbread is currently only one-way. It can read data, but not transmit. He adds that the chip supports two-way communication, but Gingerbread does not.
Clearly there’s some extra hype surrounding the Google CEO’s Eric Schmidt’s mention of Gingerbread and NFC during the Web 2.0 Summit, which came around the same time as ATT, T-Mobile, and Verizon’s official announcement about their partnership in the Isis Mobile Payment Network.
From the Stekl’s post on the subject of NFC and Gingerbread: “One thing that was very much anticipated in the Nexus S and Gingerbread in general was NFC (Near Field Communication) support, which is a feature we’ve never seen before on an Android device. In fact, the vast majority of us took it to mean that it will allow you to use your phone as a credit card, which would indeed be very exciting and insanely cool. Unfortunately, that’s not the case here; rather, the technology will allow the Nexus S (and other NFC-capable Android phones) to act as a glorified barcode scanner of sorts… Gingerbread basically allows phones to function as readers, but not as transmitters. Therefore, NFC-enabled Android devices will be able to scan NFC tags, or transmitters, but will not be able to transmit information themselves. In English, that means your shiny new Nexus S won’t be able to act as a credit card due to the fact that it can’t transmit information for NFC readers (potentially ones such as cash registers) to pick up on.”
via Android Police.