I actually emailed Samsung support about this and got very confusing answers. They said no NFC support in Gingerbread, but ICS would have it. They kept repeating this, and wouldn't say if I needed to buy a battery with NFC or whether the chip was already in there. Here is their answer:
In relation to your query NFC is not supported with the Gingerbread operation system but future updates such as ICE Cream Sandwich may support this function.
Don't fully understand your answer. Do you mean the Galaxy Note may support NFC with ICS at some point in the future, provided that I purchase an NFC battery? Or is there no need to buy an NFC battery?
As the ICS update is soon, I'd be happy to purchase the NFC battery if were likely to be supported, as I would like to develop applications that make use of NFC "smart tags".
Please be clear with your answer.
In response to your query, the Samsung Galaxy Note currently would not support NFC with or without an NFC battery. The gingerbread operating system does not support NFC. In the future when the Galaxy Note receives the Ice Cream Sandwich update then the device would have the software that supports NFC.
So there you have it.
But I think the answer is actually no
. Samsung customer support just doesn't know anything about the hardware on their phones.