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Someone tell Motorola NFC is an essential feature
Motorola recently announced two new cheap smartphones in the US, namely the $200 Moto G Stylus and the $250 Moto G 5G. Unfortunately, there’s one major omission with these handsets, and that’s the lack of an NFC chip.
This is a miserly decision in light of the fact that Motorola’s rivals in the market tend to offer NFC support. For example, the $200 Galaxy A14 and $200 OnePlus Nord N200 both offer this feature in the US. Even the $160 Galaxy A03s, which undercuts the Moto G Stylus, offers NFC capabilities.
These brands reflect today’s reality, which is that NFC support is now as important as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities for many consumers. In fact, Visa reports that over 75% of point-of-sale transactions in the US occur at a contactless-enabled terminal, with 265 out of the top 300 merchants supporting contactless payments.
Motorola thinks NFC isn't critical for budget-focused buyers. That's just not true.
This is a reality Motorola has seemingly failed to accept, and its response to a journalist’s question on the matter during a briefing was disappointing. The company said it was forced to prioritize some features over others, adding that NFC wasn’t as critical for budget-focused consumers.
Motorola’s claim that it’s prioritizing some features is especially irksome when the company is shipping low-quality macro cameras instead. Who values taking poor-looking 2MP macro shots over the convenience of NFC? In fact, has anyone ever bemoaned the lack of a 2MP macro camera in general? This reasoning is also strange when the company is prioritizing non-essential features like a stylus and Dolby Atmos support on the Moto G Stylus. We can appreciate the desire to bring a stylus to a much cheaper price segment, but not at the expense of basic features.
Why NFC is a non-negotiable feature to me
NFC used to be a feature I could live without four or five years ago, but fast-forward to 2023 and I’m using the tech at least once a week. That’s primarily due to Google Wallet finally launching in South Africa last year, joining established payment solutions like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and others. But Google Wallet isn’t brand-specific, making it a more convenient payment service for my daily life.
NFC also frequently comes into its own when I’m traveling. I most recently found it handy in Barcelona for MWC 2023 earlier this year, owing to the convenient tap-and-go functionality for subway service.
Motorola is effectively saying that the ability to take dubious macro shots is more important than contactless payments.
There are plenty of other uses for NFC too, including scanning tags in public settings, pairing accessories like earbuds and smart home gadgets, and initiating smart home routines. Nevertheless, these are all cherries on the payment and transit cake.
I still use QR code-based payments in some situations, though. I prefer the QR route when paying for mall parking, for example, because I can avoid the queues for NFC-enabled parking payment machines by scanning my parking ticket instead. QR code payments are also common at food markets, where some vendors might not have a card payment machine.
Nevertheless, I’m by and large using NFC-based payments for everyday purchases such as groceries, fuel, and more. Even though NFC support varies by region, Motorola’s willingness to nix the feature from its budget products is still questionable.
Even the notorious slow US is catching up to the rest of the world and has hopped on the contactless payment bandwagon. So it’s high time for Motorola to cater to this demand instead of pretending the US is still stuck in 2013.