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Christmas Gift Guide

Park and pay

Payment machine

Start your engine

NFC app

Foursquare

Game time

Or the cinema

Tag list

Find your way

Shopaholic

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.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
Inside the NFC app on your phone, you can store your linked payment card, merchant reward cards, and see special offers from retailers.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
Scanning an NFC tag can let you check in for Foursquare, as well.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
When you're visiting a new city, you could use NFC to get transit directions and pay your fare.
Caption by / 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.
Caption by / Photo by Kent German/CNET
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