Google rolled a minor update to Android to significantly widen the usefulness of NFC (near field communications) on phones like the Nexus S. Android 2.3.3 adds a new programming kit to let third-party apps read from or write to one of the short-range wireless tags, such as at a store or on a poster. Apps now have new intents and can trigger when and what they open when the phone is brought near a tag.
The upgrade additionally brings some basic support for making a peer-to-peer link between other NFC phones. The technique could lead to phones exchanging contacts just through a bump, or Bluetooth headsets pairing automatically.
Google hasn't said how soon it plans to push out Android 2.3.3, but SDK Technology Lead Xavier Ducrohet said that most phones using any form of Android 2.3 would have the 2.3.3 version already installed. The Nexus S is near certain to get the update quickly since Google handles the updates.