User context can be derived from several sources; in the future many devices will support Near Field Communications (NFC). The Touch project is dedicated to understanding these interactions.
Recently, they posted a thoughtful discussion on recent Nokia NFC devices and interactions. These are design issues that go beyond small screen/limited device, and incorporate the idea of the mobile phone as personal communications device, as our always-available connection to our digital selves and community.
The mobile phone has emerged as the one device that you will have with you, even if you have no other devices. New services (such as phone-as-wallet) simply make this fact even more true, more relevant. We thus have to expect that new services, if they want to be available to the largest number of people for the largest percentage of their day, will be available on the mobile phone.
Context technologies such as NFC can facilitate our use of this ever increasing, ever more complex set of capabilities. Our job as designers is to make it all work smoothly, pleasurably, and intuitively; to make it seem as if there are fewer functions; to occasionally argue for fewer functions. Even the Japanese find too many features to be too complex, even if that has not yet affected their buying patterns.