TecTiles are a near field communication (NFC) application. They were developed by Samsung for use with mobile smartphone devices. TecTiles are low cost self-adhesive stickers with an embedded NFC Tag that are programmed before use. This is done simply by the user with a downloadable Android app.
When an NFC capable phone is placed or tapped on a Tag, the programmed action is undertaken. This could be anything from displaying a website to switching the phone to silent mode, or many other possible actions.
NFC Tags are an application of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. Unlike most RFID, which makes an effort to give a long reading range, NFC deliberately limits this range to only a few inches or almost touching the phone to the tag. This is done deliberately so that tags have no effect on a phone unless there is a clear user action to trigger the tag.
The next generation of TecTiles, TecTiles 2, is now available from Samsung. In addition, Samsung also has a new TecTile app. This app allows consumers to program the tag for various phone functions such as mentioned above.
According to the Samsung Mobile Fact Sheet, some of the functions that the TecTile mobile app can program the tags to perform are:
- Change phone settings such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ringer, media volume, screen brightness
- Create “tasks” and customize modes like “home,” “work,” and “car”
- Make a call
- Send a text message
- Share a contact
- Show an address on a map
- Open a Web page
- Launch an application
- Follow a Twitter user
- Update a status on Facebook or Google Plus
- Check in on Foursquare or Facebook
The new TecTiles 2 programmable NFC sticker tags are compatible with all Samsung NFC enabled Android smartphones. The tags go for $14.99 for a five pack. As of today, May 17, 2013, the tags are available. You can buy them at Samsung.com. They will also be available in stores sometime in June.
The Samsung TecTile mobile app is also available today. You can download the app for free from the Google Play marketplace.
Edited by Alisen Downey