Samsung has a handful of NFC-equipped phones, like the Galaxy S II and III, and the Galaxy Nexus, but little has been done to put the technology to use. Sure, there’s Google Wallet and other mobile payment platforms, but we’re still a ways off before paying with your phone becomes mainstream. Either way, there’s plenty you can do with NFC outside of tap-to-pay, which is why Samsung is introducing TecTiles.
For 14.99 for a pack of five, you can slap these NFC stickers on the steering wheel, by the front door, on the corner of your desk or anywhere you see fit. They’ll allow you to swipe your phone across them and it will automatically adjust itself to predetermined settings or actions that you’ve already programmed in. So, imagine tapping your phone against a TecTile on your night stand and seeing your phone automatically set an alarm and dim the display to prep you for sleep time.
But it isn’t just made for smartphone users. Brands will also have the opportunity to buy a couple batches of TecTiles and program them to automatically perform a check-in on Facebook or foursquare, connect to WiFi, or automatically download content to the device when tapped.
You can program the TecTiles through a simple, free application on the Google Play store called Samsung TecTiles, and perform the following actions with a tap of your phone:
- Change phone settings, including Bluetooth, WiFi, ringer volume, brightness, etc.
- Launch an app
- Join a WiFi network
- Show a message
- Make a call or start a Google Talk conversation
- Send a predetermined text message, like “I’m on my way” on a steering wheel TecTile
- Share a contact or business card
- Open up to a certain address on a map
- Open a web page
- Check in on foursquare or Facebook
- Automatically “Like” something on Facebook
- Update your Facebook status
- Post a tweet or automatically follow on Twitter
- Connect with someone on LinkedIn
TecTiles are available now from all four of the major carriers for $15, and come in five-packs.
Clearly the space is heating up. Motorola has its own Smart Actions offering, which, to be fair, has nothing at all to do with NFC and is more centered around easy, location-based automation of your phone. Sony, on the other hand, is basically doing the same exact thing as Samsung with its Smart Tags. Either way, expect to see a lot more people tapping their phone against random objects in the near future.