NFC: Under-hyped, ready to over-deliver

Near-field communications, or NFC for short, is on the cusp of making e-commerce look like chump change, and much more quickly than most people think. The naysayers have arrived, and that’s a good thing: it means this disruptive technology is about to take down their business.

Why does NFC matter? Does tap beat swipe for mobile payments?

Editor’s note: This discussion about mobile payments and commerce is one of the five themes we’ll debating at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit, on April 25-26. We’ve carefully invited the top mobile executives to help solve what we think are the biggest challenges in mobile. And for payments, we’ll have the top executives in the sector around the table, including representatives from Verizon, AT&T, Sybase, Boku, Zong, Visa, Square and disruptive credit card company Dynamics. (If you think you should be part of the discussion, you can apply for a ticket. More on the series here.)

The top trends of the Consumer Electronics Show (poll)

The good thing about braving the crowds at the Consumer Electronics Show is that you get to see a lot of the future’s gadgets. And if you see the same thing over and over again, that’s a trend. Last year, every TV maker embraced 3D and web connectivity. That trend continued this year with more than half of all new TV models including those features. This year, we’ve sniffed out similar trends that could play out throughout 2011 as companies execute on their grand ambitions:

Google chief shows off Nexus S Android phone with near-field communication (updated)

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt gave gadget fans a rush today when he showed off an unannounced Android phone — which definitely looks like the rumored Samsung Nexus S — with a cool new mobile communications technology. Dubbed near-field communications, the technology lets you wave a cell phone over a reader and use your phone to pay for something.