If tapping your NFC phone to pay for real-world goods with Google Wallet doesn't get you excited, then how about tapping it on a tag to silence that ringer before heading into a meeting? Or setting your alarm by tapping your nightstand? Or tapping on a restaurant door to check in via Foursquare? Samsung's new TecTiles sticker tags ($14.99 for a pack of five) make these and other scenarios possible.
All you need is a phone with an NFC chip built in, like the new Samsung Galaxy S III, and the Samsung TecTiles app from the Google Play store. TecTiles will also will work with non-Samsung phones enabled with NFC, so this technology could certainly have legs.
How TecTiles Work
Once you purchase your pack of TecTiles and download the app, you can program an individual TecTile sticker to do all sorts of things. For example, a child could tap a sticker to automatically send a text message to his parents that he's arrived home. Or a business could enable customers to open a web page to download content or check in on Facebook or Foursquare.
The app covers everything from settings and applications to communication and location and web, as well as social networking. Plus, you can easily re-program TecTiles so they can be put to other uses. During our brief hands-on time with the app it was a cinch to use, though we sometimes had to tap the tag more than once for it to register.
Availability and Pricing
Samsung says that TecTiles will support the Galaxy S III (natch), the Galaxy S II on T-Mobile, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S on Sprint and Galaxy S Blaze 4G on T-Mobile. As mentioned above, any Android phone with an NFC chip inside should work.
You should be able to pick up a pack of five TecTiles at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon stores, as well as online. The TecTiles app itself is free.
Although the Galaxy S III lets you share big files by tapping two phones together and Google's Android Beam has potential, this is the first real attempt to make the technology mainstream beyond mobile payments. The reason why TecTiles has a shot at success is because Samsung isn't keeping the technology to itself. In fact, it could become an industry standard for tap-to-anything-you-can-think-of. We can't wait to see not only what individuals and businesses do with TecTiles, as well as also developers.