What's the difference between NFC and Bluetooth?

With all the talk of the new NFC cell phones coming out, people are confused regarding what it means. NFC and Bluetooth have similar abilities. Bluetooth is something that allows wireless devises to communicate. The same can be said for NFC or Near Field Communication.

While blue tooth and Near Field Communication have the same properties, they are vastly different. NFC will allow people to use the wireless technology to make payments for products all by simply holding a cell phone close to a reader. While NFC seems to be difficult, it is actually a relatively easy technology. Bluetooth technology is a bit more difficult and used mostly for music and wireless applications. Think of it like the security key at a hotel. The key card has tons of information stored on a magnetic strip, called RFID or Radio Frequency Identification. Using the same process, NFC will be able to transmit this information through a chip. These chips are embedded in different things, but it has a small commuting range.

The average communication range for a NFC product is less than 20 cm, but the Bluetooth can communicate at around 10 meters. NFC has limitations; whereas Bluetooth does not have as many. The security will be tighter on the limits for the consumer’s protection. The entire NFC chip or module inside the phone will be controlled heavily, unlike Bluetooth.

While making payments is a perk, this is not the only technology that NFC enabled smart phones will be able to do. There are RFID chips in many things we come in contact with every day, such as posters and billboards. By simply scanning this with the smart phone, the NFC can communicate and swap information. This can easily fill one's address book by simply scanning. Having the local restaurant or dry cleaners at just the touch of a button is very convenient for today’s busy person.

Many people are concerned about added costs to have this NFC chip in the phones. Actually, it will probably not add anything or very little. However, the more information on the phone, the more dangerous it comes when landed in someone else’s hands. Security measures are still being developed to protect consumer’s information on their phones. Having a phone lost or stolen with that kind of information would be a horror story.

While Bluetooth and NFC use some similar aspects of technology, they are totally different. The very way that they communicate with other devices and the technological features they utilize are not the same.