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Samsung TecTiles are programmable NFC stickers for your smartphone


News by Dan Seifert on Wednesday June 13, 2012.

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Samsung TecTiles Programmable NFC Tag
Samsung TecTiles Programmable NFC Tag

Samsung has been building Near Field Communications (NFC) features into a number of its phones for quite a while, and now it has finally released an accessory that takes advantage of their NFC(INFO) capabilities. The new TecTiles Programmable NFC Tags let users automate a variety of functions on their smartphones with just a single tap.

The TecTile tag itself is basically just a sticker with a passive NFC transmitter embedded inside. About the size of a U.S. quarter, the TecTile can adhere to a variety of surfaces.

However, the TecTile tag is nothing without the accompanying TecTile app for Android smartphones. Using the app, a smartphone owner can program the tag to initiate a variety of actions on their smartphone when it comes into close proximity of it. Users can have the tag adjust settings like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, launch an application of their choosing, display a message on the phone's screen, initiate a call or send a text message, open a web page, check-in or Like a location, and more. The tag can be wiped and reprogrammed over and over again for various purposes, and it can also be locked to a specific function so that others cannot reprogram it.

We had the opportunity to try out the TecTile tags using a Galaxy S III, and everything worked as Samsung says it should. If a phone does not have the TecTile app installed, the first time it is tapped against the TecTile tag, it is prompted to download and install the app. From there, programming the tags is as simple as choosing the desired functions and tapping the phone against the tag. We noticed that the phone will recognize the tag and react when it is just about a centimeter away, so direct contact is not always needed. The phone usually reacts to the tag within a second of when it came in contact with it. Reprogramming the tag was simple and quick as well.

Samsung says that the TecTile tags will be popular for businesses that want users to Like their page or check-in when they arrive. We could see that, but we instantly thought of a few things that we would like to use the TecTile tags for. For example, it would be great to mount a tag in a discrete location inside a car and program it to shut off Wi-Fi, turn on Bluetooth, and launch the Car Mode app when the phone is tapped against it.

The TecTile tags and app are compatible with all NFC-enabled Android smartphones, but of course Samsung wants you to use it with its own devices. The Samsung Galaxy S III on all carriers, the Galaxy S II on T-Mobile, the CDMA Galaxy Nexus on Verizon Wireless and Sprint, the unlocked GSM Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus S 4G on Sprint, and the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G on T-Mobile all feature the requisite NFC support to work with the TecTiles tag and app.

Samsung is offering the TecTile tags in packs of five for $14.99 and customers are able to buy them online or at AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile stores. The TecTile app is available as a free download in the Google Play Store now.

source: Samsung

 
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Dan Seifert
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.

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