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NFC Tag Fun [Videos]

Note, the new symbol for NFC… similar to how Bluetooth has a ‘B’ for it’s indicator, this will be the notification symbol for NFC — the N MARK

I’ve really been keen on NFC.  It’s one of those cool features I couldn’t wait to play with when I got my Galaxy Nexus.

I remember having IR on my Palms and thought was a cool way to ‘beam’ information back and forth to each other, that having “Android Beam” in Jelly Bean made it so nostalgic for me.

Besides that, you have all sorts of things it can do.  It’s the basis behind those gas station ‘pay passes’, key cards are a variant of it; and the credit card magic touch’y thingie.  I was really excited about that.  I hate my wallet.  I would really rather just bring my phone, tap it and pay that way.  C’mon future!

So, all that Google Wallet nonsense aside (still fingers crossed), what can we do with NFC right now?

I’ve always wanted to try.  Never really got around to buying any tags, and ‘beaming’ things between friends and phones seemed to be hit or miss.  Sometimes it worked perfectly, other times it made me look the fool.

When Sony sent me the ion phone to play with, they included some NFC tags to go along with it.  I was stoked to give these a try.  A real kick in the but ot learn about what it is they do.

I had great grandiose visions of what I would like to do with them.  I want one on my bike, so that when I tap it, it’d turn on BT, connect to my headphones, start playing my ‘bike playlist’, then open Endomondo, ensure the settings were for a bike ride, then give me the countdown to start.  Then just tap it again to throw it in reverse (would be cool to say ‘stop, take screen shot, share shot to G+).  But, that was just a pipe dream.  Or, I just didn’t quite understand it enough.

It comes close tho’.  Most of what I listed there is possible, some though isn’t.  And that’s what I found out about NFC and the ‘automated’ features, is that they’re only good up to a point.  Some things will just never work.

For me, I found that the limitations was just about the same as if I did it the old fashion way, and that automating some things wouldn’t necessarily save me time.

And that’s the trick.  Find something you do ALL THE TIME… and this just automates it.

Many people like to ensure that Wifi is turned on when they get into the office, or their home.  So, instead of turning on the device, going to the notification shade (or going into settings) to switch it on is a few steps.  Turning it on, then holding it next to a tag is simple (I found that I couldn’t even use NFC from my lock screen tho’… so I’d have to turn on, THEN unlock, then tap).

For me, I leave my Bluetooth on, my WiFi on, my GPS on, pretty much all the time.  So it wasn’t really saving me any steps there.  However, now that I may have a path to make it simpler, I just may start turning it off… who knows.  This old dog is hard to teach new tricks!

I made 2 videos to really show you what I did:

First video is of me using Sony’s SmartConnect app with the Xperia SmartTags (they were Sony devices afterall).

The second video is of me using NFC Task Launcher, which even integrates with Tasker.

The biggest roadblock about it is that if I set up a trigger/event for the app, it doesn’t carry over to a friend’s phone.  So if I have mine set to toggle my WiFi, it won’t toggle my friend’s WiFi on their phone.  They need that ‘setting/app’ on theirs for it to work.

That’s where NFC Writer can come in.  VERY limited to the powers it can do, but at least that regardless of what app or task program you have on your phone, it’ll do that universal command.

Watch the vids.  You’ll understand.

How are YOU using NFC?

What’s your trick?

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  • Daniel

    Do you know where you could buy these tags or any other kind?

    • Brian G.

      Sony Store or lots of places online; google it and keep seeing ads for it forever, haha.

    • These are from Sony that I’m playing with. But if you look for NFC Tag Stand, you should find it relatively easily. Or, get the NFC Task Launcher, there’s a link in the app to their physical nfc store.