Asus announces the world's first NFC-enabled PC tower

You've bumped your phone, you've bumped your speaker, and you may have even bumped your laptop or printer, but you've never been able to bump your desktop—until now. Friday, Asus announced the M70 PC, a tower the company claims is the first NFC-enabled desktop PC. (We'll give 'em the nod for being the first NFC-enabled tower PC, but HP's Spectre One all-in-one had NFC all the way back in January.)

While the mere concept brings to mind ridonkulous visions of people trying to slam their M70 PC against NFC-enabled printers, Asus says the desktop was designed primarily to play nice with Android phones. The company's NFC Express software packs some truly handy-dandy one tap features. With it, you can:

  • Log in to Windows 8
  • Quick launch chosen applications
  • Back up your Android device's photos and videos, with the option to back up only newly added media

The mobile-friendly tricks don't end there, though: Asus says the M70 PC will also wirelessly charge mobile devices via a Qi-compatible charger tray. The computer also ships with Asus' Ai Charger software, which helps your USB 3.0 ports deliver juice to iPads, iPhones, and iPods at nearly the same pace as a wall charger.

Configurations can include a full range of Intel Core processors and low-end Nvidia graphics cards, while an uninterruptible power supply protects against blackouts. Asus kept mum on the other technical details, including key points like pricing and a release date.

The DIY NFC desktop

And if you're happy with the desktop you already own, fear not: You can hobble together many of these features for your own Franken-rig. Feature-for-feature, the M70 PC offers similar functionality to the $40 NFC Express dongle Asus released in August, though the dongle only works with a handful of Asus motherboards (such as the Thunderbolt 2-equipped Z87-Deluxe/Quad).

Speaking of motherboards, if you have an Asus motherboard that includes the company's Wi-Fi GO! technology, you can also use the NFC Express dongle to pair your phone with your PC for Remote Desktop access. (Asus' remote desktop technology only functions when both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network, though.)

Meanwhile, anybody with any motherboard can snag the Ai Charger software from the Asus website.

While the M70 PC's mobile-oriented bells and whistles are undoubtedly a differentiator, Asus has an uphill battle if it wants to transform NFC into a desktop draw.

NFC hasn't caught on the way Samsung and others thought it would, and the world has—by and large—emitted a collective yawn about the wireless transfer technology. While one could argue that quick launching apps via NFC is borderline useless, the ability to log in to Windows and back up your media simply by placing your phone on your PC proves that NFC can actually be downright useful, even on desktops.

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