Google Releases Android 2.3.3 SDK

While Android 2.3 is only available for the Nexus S, and there continues to be talk about Android 2.4 and 3.0, Google is apparently continuing to add features to Android 2.3. Today Google made the Android 2.3.3 SDK available to developers. The new release contains a small set of improvements to the Near Field Communications (NFC) capability of Android.

NFC provides close proximity, wireless communications between an Android phone and other devices that support it. What makes NFC different from Bluetooth or WiFi is that it works automatically without any user intervention. One of the ways that Google expects NFC to be used is for making payments by simply placing the phone in proximity of a cash register or vending machine and authorizing the payment, basically making the smartphone an alternative to credit cards.

Android 2.3.3 makes improvements to the NFC API so that it can send and receive information with any standard NFC tag in use today. Developers also gain more control over how they can have their app respond when the phone comes in range with another NFC device. The change also provides some limited device-to-device communication, which I take to mean that one Android phone could communicate with another Android phone using NFC.