Samsung TecTiles

Looks like it's time for NFC tags to hit the big time. Samsung tonight announced TecTiles, its own rewritable NFC tag solution. 

For those of you new to the game, NFC stands for "Near Field Communication" -- think of it as very short-range wireless data transfers where you literally tap your phone against something to initiate the transfer. NFC tags are little stickers that, when touched by an NFC-enabled device, can then cause an action to happen. 

We got the opportunity to give them a spin last week in New York City and, guess what -- they're rewritable NFC tags. But they're going to be pretty darn handy.

NFC plays a pretty big part in Samsung's latest smartphone, the Galaxy S III. It's used to initiate an S Beam connection, which lets you transfer photos and videos (among other things) from one Galaxy S III to another. (There's some Wifi Direction action involved there, but we digress.) Back to the tags, though.

The TecTiles tags will run you $14.99 for a five-pack, which you can purchase from Samsung online, or at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile stores. (Yes. That's a whopping $3 a tag.) They're good for many thousands of rewrites, Samsung tells us. So what can they do? It's a pretty extensive list. One you download and install the TecTiles app -- which works just fine on non-Samsung phones, by the way -- you'll be able to write tags to do the following:

Settings & Applications

  • Change phone settings (Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi, ringer/media volume, screen brightness, etc.)
  • Launch an application
  • Join a Wi-Fi Network
  • Show a message

Communication

  • Make a call
  • Send a text message
  • Start a Google Talk conversation
  • Share a contact or business card

Location & Web

  • Show an address on a map
  • Open a web page
  • Foursquare or Facebook check-in

Social

  • Automatic Facebook “Like”
  • Update Facebook status
  • Post a tweet or follow a contact on Twitter
  • Connect on LinkedIn

And that's it. Just tap, and go. And it works just fine, though the tags definitely are on the pricey side. There's more info at the link below. Or (and this was a bit of brilliance on Samsung's part), you can just tap a TecTiles tag with an NFC-enabled phone to visit Sammy's TecTiles site for more info and to download the TecTiles app.

More: Samsung TecTiles; Download the TecTiles app

 

Reader comments

Samsung TecTiles brings new rewritable NFC tags solution

29 Comments

Good morning Phil.... Yes it`s on pricey side, but it`s nice to have more option on your phone, there is people like to have it.

Anyone know if the TecTiles software will work with other re-writable NFC tags or is Samsung trying to ensure that the make money from their more expensive ones?

This will be great, if one tag can turn on/off an operation like airplane mode. However, I think that you might need one tag for each on and off.

From what I understand of the tech, yes. One tap would turn airplane mode on or off, a second would change it back.

Depends entirely on the storage capacity of the tag itself. It ranges anywhere from 144 bytes to 2 KB. From what I've been told, 512 bytes should be more than enough to do a few toggles (of things like max/min brightness or airplane mode on/off) and open apps.

$3 a tag does not seem pricey to me! I'm thinking of opening a business, and I can't think of a better way to use these than by sticking them to posters and signage in my store!! just think of all the ways a small shop could use these! "tap here to place an order" "tap here to see a menu" "tap here to like us on facebook and get $5 off your next purchase"

I've been using NFC tags for about 3 months now, (there are plenty of ideas in a Galaxy Nexus thread) and it certainly doesn't cost $3 a sticker if you don't want to buy from Samsung. You should have released this back in December Samsung, you missed out on the early adopters.

As a hotel operator, I am thrilled with this tech. Sure it's early on the game, but that's where it all starts. So many useful ideas swirling in my head right now.

Price concerns should not be a topic of dicussion on something such as NFC tags. It's a commodity of something that will differ by a couple dollars from one vendor to the next. It's like complaining that the gas across the street is a couple cents lower. It doesn't matter. And in the end it will come down to whether or not you will need things that might be more durable or hold a bit more data based upon your needs; which only time will tell for functionality on some specs.

But it is pleasant to hear that the NFC tags have emerged and seem to define nice options for marketing and setting up personal options for particular situations. If the current device that I had available were NFC compliant I would jump on some tags. Even though the market is small for this now, it's always good to be ahead of the technological curve and prepare.

So I could put one of these tags in my car, and then when I get into my car I can tap and it would turn on GPS and Bluetooth, and turn off wifi, and I can put another sticker in my car for when I get out of the car that will turn off GPS and Bluetooth and turn on wifi? This sounds amazing.

Actually I believe that they are stating you will need only one tag to perform what you want. The first time you do it, it would turn those features on for you. Then when you are getting out of the car, you use the same tag and it would perform what you want to accomplish when you want to leave the car.

Perhaps matching up the functionality with different chimes so you specifically know which was activated.

You can use toggle function.

Set Bluetooth to Toggle, Wifi to Toggle.

So, if initially you have Bluetooth ON and Wifi OFF and you tap the tag the first time, it will turn Bluetooth Off and Wifi On. Touch the tag again and it will toggle to the Bluetooth On and Wifi Off.

Doesn't this sound like kind of a security risk? The simple act of tapping your phone against something can control such basic functionality as turning Wifi on or putting it into airplane mode? With no user input? Am I missing something? It certainly sounds convenient in some situations but kinda risky in others...

The phone has to be unlocked for it to read the tags. Also, your phone has to be pretty close, about 4cm or less away.
But, it could happen. you have your phone in your hand and you get close to a tag without knowing...

Funny you say that, I did read about two weeks ago that people or using NFC for identity theft. The article said there is a device that people can carry around and if they can get it close enough to our phone they can still your info off of it. At the same time it said no such thing has been proven to have happened yet.