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What is NFC?

Also known as Near Field Communications, this technology allows a smartphone to communicate with other devices or smart tags via radio waves. Used as a tap-and-go payment system through Google Wallet and for exchanging information between phones. NFC is integrated into such devices as the Samsung Nexus S and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Unfortunately, users can’t do much with the feature yet. But they will be using it soon. Baked into Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s Beam feature uses NFC to let users do some nifty tricks, such as transferring videos, pictures, contacts, and websites by touching two Android phones together. For example, a YouTube video shared via Beam will pick up on another device exactly where it was last played. The technology does pose some security concerns, but those are being addressed. For instance, to prevent others from using your Android phone as a wallet, Google Wallet uses a PIN number that you must enter at timed intervals. Under Settings you can set the PIN timer to 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes.

A lover of lists and deadlines, Anna Attkisson covers apps, social networking, tablets, chromebooks and accessories. She loves each of her devices equally, including the phablet, three tablets, three laptops and desktop. She joined the Laptop Mag staff in 2007, after working at Time Inc. Content Solutions where she created custom publications for companies from American Express to National Parks Foundation.