NFC for payments: Meh. NFC for a keyboard: Cool!

Near-field communications for mobile payments still hasn’t made much headway as most consumers and retailers haven’t yet transitioned to wireless payments. That doesn’t mean NFC is a dead technology however. We’ve already seen Bluetooth headphones that pair up by tapping them to an NFC-enabled smartphone. Now the world’s first NFC mobile keyboard is here.

Elecom is showing off the device, says Akihabara News, which folds up and comes with a carry case. When unfolded, an NFC-equipped phone fits in the middle of the split keys and communicates wirelessly with the keys at a frequency of 13.56MHz. There’s no Bluetooth or other wireless technology used here; NFC is used to initiate the connection and to transfer the keystroke data.

Since NFC is a short-range, low-power wireless technology, the keyboard only works when a phone is within 10 millimeters of it. Elecom says the keyboard battery should last six months and the device supports Android(s goog) only for now. While the keyboard isn’t likely suited for full-time typing, it looks like it would work well for occasional typing on an Android phone with NFC. The fact that there are no cables makes it attractive as well: Just put your phone or tablet on the keyboard and start typing.

Elecom says the keyboard is shipping soon in Japan only for 18,690 Yen, which works out to a whopping $238.75 U.S. Maybe I’ll stick with the on-screen keyboard instead.