NFC's a curious thing. That once heavily buzzed about feature's found a home in many of the handsets that occupy Android's swiftly rotating throne, but eager users wielding those enabled devices haven't been given much to do with it. Visa's payWave aside, Samsung's finally cooked up a means of making the near field tech a more integrated and efficient aspect of our modern lives -- well, the lives of other Galaxy S III, Galaxy S II (T-Mobile only), Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S 4G and Galaxy S Blaze 4G owners, to be precise. Enter: TecTiles. In tandem with its flagship's impending US launch, the company's going to be offering packs of branded NFC stickers at retail that can be programmed with useful actions and placed wherever adhesive is welcome. Need to set up a seamless Foursquare check-in for your place of business, leave a message on the fridge for members of your family, effortlessly transfer your contact info or even silence your phone automatically at a meeting? That's where Sammy's stickers come in handy, sidestepping the multitude of taps it normally takes to enter data or navigate a mobile UI with a simple close encounter of the NFC kind. If the implementation sounds eerily familiar, that's because you may have seen it before in the form of Smart Tags -- Sony's own spin on the communication tech.
As you might imagine, there's an app to manage each individual TecTile's settings that will be made available after an initial pairing. And, according to one of the company's reps, each unlocked sticker can be programmed up to 100,000 times, a high enough ceiling that should get you plenty of mileage, glue willing. Naturally, there's a limit to this initial rollout's NFC-love and that's where things could get pricey, given that each TecTile can currently carry only one function at a time. Plans are underway, however, to expand beyond this limitation by enabling multi-functions in future iterations of the tacky tech -- whenever version 2.0 touches down. For now, though, you'll have to make frugal use of the stickers, considering they'll be marked at $15 for a pack of five. So, if you're still standing undecided on a Galaxy S III purchase despite its litany of capabilities, then this long-overdue feature could very well prove to be the wallet-tipping point.
Samsung TecTilesSee all photos
Samsung Mobile Puts All The Pieces in Place to Bring NFC To The Masses
Inexpensive, easy to use Samsung TecTiles™ Programmable NFC Tags can be customized to launch apps, send text messages, share contact information, change phone settings and more, with an NFC-enabled Galaxy smartphone
DALLAS - June 13, 2012 - Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile) is helping consumers realize the potential of NFC technology today with the creation of Samsung TecTiles™ and the TecTile™ programming application. With the largest user base of NFC-enabled devices in the United States and TecTiles available in all four major carrier stores and at major online retailers at the launch of the Galaxy S III, Samsung is ensuring NFC becomes a part of daily life.
With a simple tap of an NFC-enabled phone to a TecTile, consumers are able to automate everyday functions of a smartphone including sending a "headed/at home" text message, silencing the phone when entering a meeting, setting an alarm, and dimming the display when going to bed.
Samsung TecTiles will transform how businesses large and small engage with consumers. On premise, TecTiles enable consumers to check-in on Facebook® or foursquare®, connect to Wi-Fi® or download content. Off-premise, businesses can use TecTiles as a way to market to and engage with consumers by enabling reward programs and to download discount offers or content.
"With millions of NFC-enabled Samsung Galaxy smartphones currently in the market and the arrival of our flagship device Galaxy S® III, Samsung saw an opportunity to expand the value of NFC beyond mobile payments," said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Telecommunications America, the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the U.S. and worldwide. "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."
Samsung TecTiles are easy to program with any NFC-enabled smartphone and the free application, which can be found in the Google Play™ marketplace. TecTiles can be reprogrammed as often as needed to complete any of the following functions on an NFC-enabled phone:
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
· 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
· Automatic Facebook "Like"
· Update Facebook status
· Post a tweet or follow a contact on Twitter
· Connect on LinkedIn®
Samsung NFC-Enabled Android TM Smartphones
· Samsung Galaxy S® III on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon
· Samsung Galaxy S® II on T-Mobile
· Galaxy Nexus TM on Verizon, Sprint and GSM Unlocked
· Nexus TM S ® 4G on Sprint
· Samsung Galaxy S® Blaze ® 4G on T-Mobile
Priced at $14.99 for a pack of five, TecTiles programmable NFC sticker tags are now available for purchase online and in-store at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The Samsung TecTiles app is now available for download at the Google Play store.