Samsung Unveils "TecTiles" for NFC-Enabled Smartphones
June 14, 2012 11:56 AM
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TecTiles will be available through the four major U.S. carriers Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile
Samsung introduced a new near field communications (NFC) accessory this week that packs a lot of punch into one tiny sticker.
The stickers, called TecTiles, are coupled with
and prompt several different actions with a simple tap. More specifically, the TecTiles have built-in NFC chips that are programmed to launch a number of commands, such as sending text messages, changing phone settings, sharing contact information and launching apps.
Near field communication, or NFC technology, is a set of short-range, wireless technologies that allows mobile devices to interact with specialized readers in order to make everyday payments
Samsung plans on releasing TecTiles for its own NFC-enabled smartphones, including the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy S II,
S 4G, the Galaxy S Blaze 4G and the Galaxy S III.
"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 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."
Some of these everyday tasks include setting a phone to silent, joining a Wi-Fi network, make a phone call, show an address on a map, check in on Foursquare, "Like" something on Facebook, tweet on Twitter and open up a specific website. A simple tap of your phone can accomplish this.
The TecTiles can be programmed up to 100,000 times using a free Android app called Samsung TecTiles. The TecTiles will be sold for $15 for a pack of five, and will be available through the four major U.S. carriers Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
Samsung's heightened commitment to NFC technology is likely due to its upcoming venture with Visa, where the two will
join forces for the London 2012 Olympics
. The two will offer a NFC mobile payment service via the Olympics and Paralympics Games mobile handset, which will utilize Visa's payment application.
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The NFC Finals: Google Wallet vs.TecTiles
6/15/2012 5:38:33 PM
Among technology's previous generation of Next Big Things, we heard a lot of talk about the potential of NFC (Near-Field Communication). Smartphone manufacturers were excited enough to start putting NFC on over 40 production models in 2011 alone -- despite the fact that there were very few real-world applications. Google tried to jump-start NFC with an ambitious Google Wallet project, and Samsung's recently unveiled TecTiles hopes to make app-loving users excited about the possibilities.
First, the basics. NFC is a form of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) that operates in an extremely short range. NFC devices need to be (almost) close enough to touch, which reduces but does not eliminate external interference -- intentional, or otherwise. Unlike the similar Bluetooth specification, the NFC connection does not require pairing; any two devices can make a connection.
NFC has an 'effective' range of 10 centimeters; in other words, you need to get a pair of NFC devices (smart or dumb) within the 10 cm range (roughly 4 inches apart) to establish a connection.
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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