When most people think of near-field communications (NFC), they think smartphones.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) has been pushing it pretty aggressively into Android phones, laying the foundation for Google Wallet. Apple may bring it into next year's iPhone, after this year's omission.
The NFC revolution is going to include a plethora of companies seeking to make it that much easier to access your digital wallet. On one end, you have NFC chip makers, such as first-mover NXP Semiconductors (Nasdaq: NXPI ) , while Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM ) is jumping in along with chip giants such as Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) , for starters.
On the other end, you have payment processors getting onboard like Visa (NYSE: V ) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA ) , trying to make it easier for consumers to make purchases in hopes of increasing their own money-making opportunities. You even have wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile asking for an invite with their ISIS network.
The latest development in NFC is bringing the technology to laptops and involves a pairing of two of the aforementioned players: Intel and MasterCard. The duo has announced a multiyear strategic partnership combining MasterCard's NFC-based PayPass with Intel's Ultrabook initiative.
By adding NFC PayPass support into laptop PCs, the companies hope to "enhance the security and consumer payment experience for online shopping." Gone will be the days when you had to enter your credit card information when ordering that new pair of shoes online. In its place, you will tap a PayPass-enabled card or smartphone directly onto your Ultrabook laptop. The partners promise more payment safety from malware and hackers by using Intel's Identity Protection Technology, which uses hardware and software authentication.
Not to mention also making all your impulse Internet buys that much easier to snap up, as common sense and frugality sometimes tend to sink in while you're digging through your wallet to find your credit card digits.
Including NFC on laptops isn't entirely new: Lenovo added the functionality as an option for its ThinkPad offering a while back. But now that the gaggle of heavyweights are all rallying behind the movement, you can expect this time to be different.
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