Technology is evolving pretty fast. And when we consider what smartphones can do today as compared to say three years ago, it’s immediately apparent how far we’ve come in this department. Say what you will, but all of this wouldn’t have been possible without manufacturers pushing each other to bring the best in them. Apple and other Android OEMs in particular brought a new breed of technology and the quick evolution of hardware/software was almost inevitable. And we’re still not done when it comes to innovation, as there’s always going to be more room for newer products, features, form factors etc. And one such feature is Near Field Communication or NFC. This isn’t quite the best utilized feature out there, despite manufacturers pushing to bring it to the fore. Nokia, Samsung and a variety of Android OEMs have implemented NFC in their smartphones. Android, by far makes the best use of the feature with Android Beam and Google Wallet (NFC payments are possible on certain Nokia devices too).
And now it is being reported that by 2015, people will be able to start their cars using NFC on smartphones. Car maker Hyundai has been in talks with Broadcom to bring this feature on its cars, and wants to get it working by 2015. It’s not a bad idea really, considering the convenience and simplicity it brings forth by avoiding the need for the use of keys. Doors can already be unlocked with help of NFC tags conveniently placed on them, but this new innovation could finally make NFC a much better function to use.
The idea behind NFC payments and this one too is that it avoids the need for physical card or a key. Of course, the idea falls apart if you lose your smartphone or if it is running low on battery, but NFC certainly has the potential to make lives simpler if not easier. Besides bringing the ability to start the car, the user apparently will be able to predefine certain features of the car like the climate control or the music system to play songs of your preference using NFC. What makes this feature better is that it can save preferences for each user, if there are multiple drivers to the car. However, this particular feature is currently facing some issues, so we expect Hyundai and Broadcom to figure that out. Some car manufacturers in the past have spoken of introducing wireless charging plates inside cars to charge smartphones while on the go, and this concept car from Hyundai has that feature too.
This certainly sounds like a very futuristic car, but considering that Hyundai comes from the land of Samsung and LG, we could see this feature finding users in no time. We’ve seen manufacturers bundle NFC tags with their smartphones which can record preset functions to make it easier for the user to enable location based features on a smartphone (silent mode, turning off Wi-Fi etc) by just tapping on the tag. It’s good to see this feature being taken more seriously and getting it on cars is certainly one way to popularize it.