updated 06:49 pm EDT, Wed June 13, 2012
Customizable NFC tags can launch apps, change phone settings
Samsung has launched a new near-field communication (NFC) technology, dubbed TecTiles. The system allows users to interact with their phones using only a tap of the phone against a tag. Users can install the programmable NFC tags in any number of places, allowing them to automatically execute actions on their smartphones and other devices instead of navigating a user interface to accomplish tasks.
Using the Samsung TecTile app (free, Google Play Store), users can read and write to TecTile NFC tags. The app lets users choose what sort of tag they would like to make and what they want it to do. Upon determining the function of the tag, a user taps their phone against it and the app automatically updates the tag.
The tiles come in the form of stickers that can be attached to a range of surfaces. A promotional video on Samsung's website shows the tags being used to change smartphone settings, find information on events, launch apps, share locations, and interact with social networks.
Users can lock the settings on a TecTile, ensuring that others will not be able to write to it; Samsung warns, though, that locked tags cannot ever be changed afterward. The tags also will not function near metal surfaces.
TecTiles come in packs of five at a cost of $15 per pack, available to purchase at Samsung's online store. The system is compatible with a number of Samsung's NFC-enabled smartphones, including the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S 4G, Galaxy S II, and the Galaxy Note. Samsung notes that the tags will likely work with most, if not all, NFC-capable Android phones.