There has been a lot of discussion surrounding NFC-enabled (Near Field Communication) smartphones lately in the media, the majority of which relates to using your smartphone to pay for items, essentially replacing your wallet/purse.
However, Samsung has launched a new technology which hopes to take NFC out of retail outlets and put it firmly in the hands of consumers. TecTiles are similar in approximate dimensions to postage stamps and are essentially stickers which can be programmed to make your smartphone perform a particular task when the two are tapped together.
Some of the other tasks TecTiles can enable your smartphone to perform include sending a message, automatically applying a Facebook ‘Like’, ‘Follow’ a contact on Twitter, share a contact or make a call.
The Tiles, which stick to most surfaces, have been designed to improve the way users utilise their smartphones and make repetitive, everyday tasks easier and more straightforward. Each Tile is re-programmable or can be locked to prevent others from changing them, and can be read by smartphones running Google’s Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). There are also a number of phones running earlier versions of Android which can read the Tiles, but a definitive list has so far not been released.
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Commenting on the launch, Samsung Telecommunications America President, Dale Sohn, said:
“With millions of NFC-enable Samsung Galaxy smartphones currently in the market and the arrival of our flagship device Galaxy S3, Samsung saw an opportunity to expand the value of NFC beyond mobile payments. The launch of Samsung TecTiles is another example of Samsung’s ability to innovate new products and applications that improve the way we use our mobile devices for everyday tasks.”
To coincide with the launch of TecTiles, and to make the technology simple enough for any user, Samsung has also released an official app, available for free from the Google Play Store. The TecTiles are currently only available in the US, packs of five for $14.99, to date Samsung hasn’t revealed whether they will become available elsewhere.
With LG, Sony, and now Samsung all releasing similar products to take advantage of NFC-enabled devices, many expect the technology to become part of daily life in the very near future.