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Park and pay

On my second day at Mobile World Congress last week, I took a short break from photographing new smartphones and visited the NFC Cafe in one the cavernous exhibition halls at the Fira de Barcelona. All right, I really didn't have lunch, but I took a tour of the various solutions for NFC (near field communications), a technology that uses your mobile device to pay for almost whatever you'd like. In the first (and perhaps the most useful) demonstration, we're using an NFC-enabled Samsung Nexus S to make a payment at a parking meter. Once you touch the handset to a "tag" on the meter, the payment will deduct automatically from the credit or debit card linked to the mobile payment system.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET

Payment machine

Debit card payment machines, like the one seen here, also can be equipped for mobile payments. Just tap your phone to the panel above the display.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET

Start your engine

You even can use NFC to secure a vehicle like this motorcycle. The bike will start only after the owner's smartphone touches tag on the bike.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET

NFC app

Inside the NFC app on your phone, you can store your linked payment card, merchant reward cards, and see special offers from retailers.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET


Scanning an NFC tag can let you check in for Foursquare, as well.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET

Game time

On one wall of the cafe were screens that used NFC to purchase items and download information onto your phone. Here we're using NFC to select a mobile game and transfer it to your handset.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET

Or the cinema

Or perhaps you'd rather see a movie. By scanning the tag, you can learn about the film, check show times and theater locations, and purchase tickets.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET

Tag list

As you compile tags, you can access a full list inside your phone's NFC app. Press a link to see that information in full.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET

Find your way

When you're visiting a new city, you could use NFC to get transit directions and pay your fare.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET


And when you need a new outfit, you could browse an onscreen catalog and make your choices. You'll have to try it on in person, though.
Photo by: Kent German/CNET


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