updated 10:35 am EDT, Tue October 12, 2010
Sony and HID Global merging FeliCa and NFC
Sony and HID Global today set out a plan to unite FeliCa and near-field communication (NFC) in notebooks. The technique should work with both formats and will give portables a way of paying for items or signing in just by bringing a card or another device up close, whether they're using the Japan-focused FeliCa or more universal NFC. The two are still in early stages and plan to make details and availability known next year.
The plan is targeted at computers but could significantly impact phones as well. Outside of specialized fields, FeliCa has largely been limited to Japanese phones. The sheer preference on the format inside the country has served as a barrier to many companies reaching Japan, since many either can't afford to or are unwilling to modify their phones to add the feature. NFC should be much more widely adopted but is still relatively young.
The Sony and HID partnership could have an effect on the future direction of hardware and encourage the use of NFC. All 2011 Nokia phones will use NFC, and Apple is rumored to be making NFC-ready iPhones for its next yearly update. Most mobile use is intended for payment and could let Apple and Nokia users pay for concerts, public transit or other functions just by swiping the phone near a reader.