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News in-depth: Microsoft launches new reader designed to boost NFC usage
14 Dec 2011

Microsoft has announced the launch of a new electronic reader that can read QR codes and interact with devices that use near field communication (NFC) technology.

The technology giant introduced its first incarnation of the reader more than a year ago, but feedback indicated that users were frustrated that it could only support Microsoft Tags and not the proliferation of other triggers.

It went back to the drawing board and has now come up with an all-in-one reader that is simple for phone users and also provides opportunities for brands to interact with them.

Microsoft's Marja Koopman told PSFK: "It was important to update the Microsoft Tag platform because there was a need to address the overall market fragmentation in the industry."

Earlier this month, Intel announced that it has upgraded its membership to the NFC Forum to sponsorship level, meaning it will now have a seat on the board of directors.

This involvement with NFC by big brands highlights the growing importance of the technology and its possibilities all over the globe.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph recently, Orange and T-Mobile's Everything Everywhere spokesperson Gerry McQuade said NFC and contactless payment is "as big a moment as when we switched from cash to plastic".

He pointed out that the more people start to use it for one thing, the more they will probably adopt it for other things too.

"If you've got the security for payments, why wouldn't you have your passport on there? As soon as you get over the first hurdle, the rest will follow," Mr McQuade added.

NFC allows consumers to swipe a mobile phone or contactless smart card over a reader in order to pay for goods and services. It uses similar mechanisms to the Bluetooth technology that most people are familiar with, but typically works over a very small area so that it does not broadcast people's information.

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