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Lunching at the NFC Cafe (photos)

At the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, CNET visited the NFC Cafe to see the many possibilities for mobile payments.

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Kent German
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Foursquare

Scanning an NFC tag can let you check in for Foursquare, as well.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Find your way

When you're visiting a new city, you could use NFC to get transit directions and pay your fare.
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Shopaholic

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.

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