One of the coolest (and hence, most hyped) uses of NFC would have to be the use of it for contactless payments.Just like your MasterCard or Visa card with PayPass or payWave.
The most widely known example of using your phone as your wallet is probably Google’s Wallet app. After installing it on your Android phone, you’re all set to tap away.
But the problem with Google Wallet is that Google wants to control the whole experience, so you can only install it officially on a handful of devices, has only integrated tightly with Citibank, and so only a handful of customers can actually use Google Wallet.
Thanks to the internet however, it’s possible to shoehorn Google Wallet on to devices that aren’t ‘technically’ supported and tap away.
Since grabbing my Galaxy Nexus, Wallet was one of the most exciting things I was looking forward to trying, and surprisingly getting it going wasn’t much effort at all.
iMessage is probably one of the most notable and widely used new features that Apple introduced with iOS 5. ‘Free’ messaging to anyone else with an iOS device without having to think. But it was fiddly; it required effort to set things up to get them as Apple described; the ability to sync messages and pick up where you left off on your other iOS device (and now, your Mac).
There was also that bug where an iPhone could continue to receive messages for a number associated with a SIM card… that wasn’t even inside the phone anymore.
iOS 6 finally attempts to fix both of these annoyances.
Ever since Apple launched iTunes Match late last year, it’s been great for being able to have a copy of your music available everywhere, on your iPhone, computer and your Apple TV. One of the best features for me is being able to ‘match’ music I’ve ripped from elsewhere. This is great for lots of older stuff I ripped from CDs at a much lower bitrate (128kbps MP3).
What Match doesn’t do however, is ‘fix’ metadata. When you import a CD, usually you’re able to match it with CDDB so you get the track titles and artists for that CD without manually adding them. But this (usually) doesn’t work with custom/obscure CDs, such as a mixtape from a friend. And you could’ve been lazy and went easy on the tags, not filling out the artist correctly.
It’d be great if Match could offer to fix track metadata, afterall, it knows the music is available in the iTunes Store!
Fortunately, there’s a few ways to fix that, and it doesn’t take too long… (If you’re on a PC, head towards the bottom of the post)
After starting construction work on their LTE network back in May 2010, Telstra finally started trialling their network, starting with business customers in August, and finally launching it for consumers with the Sierra AirCard 320U USB modem. While only officially offered on a 24 month contract, it’s been available for purchase outright (for ~$299AUD). Following on from the AirCard, the HTC Velocity 4G was released in late January. More recently, they also just launched the first LTE tablet – the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 running Android, and, another USB modem – the ZTE MF821.
What makes the MF821 special for people wanting to buy it, is it’s being targeted towards the prepaid market. As mentioned above, it’s always been possible to purchase the AirCard 320U outright and then throw a prepaid SIM in there, $299 was quite pricey for the average joe. Telstra have priced the MF821 at $129, which in my opinion is a steal. You also get 3GB to use in the first 30 days from activation.
Picking one up on launch day was tricky – while the product was launched Wednesday with an availability of ‘today’, only 2 of the 5 Telstra stores I visited had them in stock, let alone had heard of them. After finally hunting one down, I was in business. The store assistant even offered to activate it for me on the spot.
If you haven’t heard of LTE (also known as 4G) before, it’s the next generation of wireless networks – in real world situations it’s at least twice as fast as 3G. Telstra have been rolling out this network to compliment their existing Next G 3G network in capital cities, until enough spectrum is available to roll it out to the rest of Australia.