FloJack Brings NFC Capability to Apple Devices

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As is known to many, iPhone 5 lacks NFC capability, which disappoints the NFC industry. Therefore, one group of developers aimed to do something about Apple’s omission. Startup NFC application developer Flomio has created the FloJack, a pocketsize, one-ounce dongle that serves as an NFC reader, able to be plugged into newer Apple mobile phones and iPod Touches, as well as iPad and Android devices.

The FloJack plugs into an Apple device’s headphone jack, automatically pairing a user’s device with Flomio’s NFC Quick Actions suite of apps to enable NFC reads. “Every phone, PC and touchpad has one [jack],” says Tim Ronan, one of the company’s cofounders, “which means the FloJack can easily NFC-enable any iPhone, iPad, legacy Android phone or any other smartphone out there. It was meant to act as an invitation for everyone to join the NFC party.”

The FloJack is compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 models, as well as the iPad, iPad 2 and iPad 3, along with the fourth and fifth generations of the iPod Touch.

It is powered with the type of standard 3-volt lithium battery that can be purchased in stores. Because the dongle goes into sleep mode when not in use, the company estimates battery life at one year.

For those looking to develop applications for the FloJack, the company also offers an Open FloJack software developer’s kit (SDK), to allow them to add NFC functionality to their iOS (iPhone-based mobile operating system) apps.

If funding allows, the firm plans to begin a regulatory certification process for the device, and to start sourcing components manufacturers. By March 2013, the company expects mass production to be underway.

According to the company, the FloJack is anticipated to cost $49, while the app to operate it would be free.