Flojack Wants to Bring NFC to iOS

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Posted 5 years ago

Ahead of the release of the iPhone 5 back in September, NFC was one of the big talking points. Industry insiders and consumers debated over whether Apple would or wouldn’t include the chip that allows contactless payments wireless communication through touch, and the tech industry generally agreed that the latest iPhone would include the feature. So when it turned out that Apple had decided against using NFC, the news was more surprising than any of the features the iPhone 5 did bring to the table. After all, why would Apple dismiss NFC when there is expected to be 1.2 billion chips shipped annually by 2015?

Apple explained their Passbook feature on iOS 6 would do “the kinds of things customers need today”, therefore NFC – which is not yet universally available – would not be necessary. Passbook, though, has not lessened the demand for NFC technology on iDevices, and this is where Techstars Cloud company Flomio is aiming to profit, with Flojack.

Flojack – available for preorder on Kickstarter – is an NFC reader and writer that plugs directly into the headphone jack of a iOS device. Working in a similar way to the dongle that works with Square, the gadget will allow the iDevice to communicate with other devices around it.

“We’re extremely excited to invite iOS customers to the NFC party,” says Flomio founder Richard Grundy. “We see a future where all mobile devices interact in the NFC ecosystem, and we want all mobile users involved now. Since Apple didn’t include NFC in its latest iPhone version, that’s where we come in. The possibilities are endless.”

And these possibilities go beyond just the typical payment transactions (although contactless payments are possible), thanks to an app called Flomio NFC Actions, which lets users customize the actions they would like Flojack to perform between devices. For example, you can program the device to give your friends directions, exchange contact information, or schedule a meeting on the go.

At the time of writing, Flomio has raised $19,480 of its total goal of $80,000 with 14 days to go. The company has also found a number of friends in technology websites, with The Next Web, Gizmag and Slash Gear amongst those championing the invention. You can make a pledge and watch a cool video about Flojack here.

– Anthony Carter

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