NFC (that's near field communication) is a slick mobile technology that's in its infancy. To grow it up in a hurry Samsung will be selling sets of little NFC stickers called TecTiles along side the Galaxy S III. What can they do? A lot, actually.
TecTiles are innocuous little stickers (about one square inch) that have an NFC tag embedded in them. The functionality of these tags, though, is entirely up to you. With a free app you can easily program them to do whatever you want. For example:
- You could have one stuck to your desk. When you get to work you just tap your phone on it to turn it to vibrate, turn on Wi-Fi, and turn off GPS.
- You could have one on your front door. When you get home, you tap your phone and it automatically fires off a text to your wife that says, "Just got in. If you're not home in 10 minutes I'll orgy with the Hendersons."
- It could also be a cool thing for businesses. They put a sticker on their front window, then when people tap it they are automatically checked-in via Foursquare or Facebook, or it adds to a loyalty card (yes APIs will be available). Or people could tap it to follow your band on Twitter. They're pretty flexible, very easy to program, and they're fully rewritable.
Like the Galaxy S III, TecTiles will be available on June 21st in all of the major wireless carriers' stores, online, and in other retail locations. They'll work with any Samsung phone that has NFC (and maybe other phones with NFC?).
You can score a five-pack of the stickers for US$15, but there-in lies the problem: they're only available in the US at the moment. Samsung Australia hasn't got back to us with information on local availability or pricing. While it might have really nifty applications, it looks like you'll have to go to the effort of importing them if you want to take advantage.
The TecTile isn't ground-breaking, but it's a pretty practical usage of NFC technology. Mobile payments gets the majority of media attention when it comes to NFC, so it's nice to see some at-home use cases. [Samsung]