Sharp just did the unthinkable. The RW-T107 Gingerbread tablet is actually useful and gives businesses a new way to interact with consumers with a built-in NFC and RFID reader. This is the future, kids.
The tablet itself is of the 7-inch Gingerbread variety. It’s of a standard build and includes microUSB, a HDMI port, SIM card slot, and a headphone jack. Sharp expects to release 5,000 a month starting next month and it will likely be reserved for the commercial market and not hit the consumer channels. It’s only meant for the Japanese market where RFID payment cards are commonplace and NFC mobile wallets are gaining traction.
Think of it this way: You’re in Japan (this tablet is only for Japan) and have your FeliCa money card. A sales associate will be able to process your transaction with just this tablet. Or maybe you have a membership card for some random arcade; you can check your bonus points on one of these tablets. It’s like an untethered customer interaction system.
Other markets will likely see similar devices as NFC penetrates the market. The platform allows retailers to rid themselves of checkout kiosks and interact more directly with customers. Of course’s there’s always the Apple Store solution and equip sales associates with credit card-reading iPod touches. But that’s not as fun as a fully-functional and Flash-enabled Android tablet.