I'm curious on the Near field communication, NFC that the Google Nexus S has. From what I understand, this techonlogy can be used to read RFID-tags, or am I wrong about that?

What can I read with an NFC enabled Google Nexus S? Can I read all RFID-tags? can I read something else than RFID-tags?

  • Your title is a little ambiguous. Are you asking "how well does it work" or "how does it work"?
    – ale
    Feb 17, 2011 at 14:50
  • @Al Everett: I'm not a native english speaker, but I have updated now. I hope it's better.
    – Jonas
    Feb 17, 2011 at 14:56
  • I get that, and that's fine. We try to help out non-native speakers (well, writers) whenever possible. Your title is much clearer now. Thanks.
    – ale
    Feb 17, 2011 at 15:02

3 Answers 3


Using NFC enabled phone like Nexus S one can read NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) message content present in NFC tags. Gingerbread (i.e. Android 2.3) is capable of reading NDEF format which is specified by NFC Forum Type 2 Specification.

NFC operates in the 13.56 MHz frequency range. NFC, is a subset of RFID that limits the range of communication to within a few centimeters.

Based on what I read and understood, my guess is Nexus S should be able detect NFC tags and not the RFID. May be in later releases hardware would be capable enough to do that as well!

EDIT: Here's some additional info.


Android blog states following are the new NFC related features in Android 2.3.3:

  • A comprehensive NFC reader/writer API that lets apps read and write to almost any standard NFC tag in use today.
  • Advanced Intent dispatching that gives apps more control over how/when they are launched when an NFC tag comes into range.
  • Some limited support for peer-to-peer connection with other NFC devices.

NFC runs at 13.56MHZ which is HF. HF NFC with NDEF is indeed an RFID. However the RFID industry has for the most part moved away from HF to UHF, 860MHZ-960MHZ, due to longer distances and standardization (EPC gen2). Most supply chain implementations, IE: Walmart, DOD, are UHF for the longer read distances and the greater vendor selection/maturity.


Check wikipedia... NFC is backward compatible.. Cool stuff.!


  • 2
    what do you mean it's backward compatible?
    – Louis Rhys
    Dec 8, 2010 at 9:21

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