Using NFC and not even thinking about mobile payments

February 8, 2013
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The title of this post may be a bit of a stretch. Truth be told, I do like the idea of mobile payments, specifically Google Wallet. But in my case, Verizon isn't playing nicely so that sort of rules that option out. Truthfully though, NFC is about much more than mobile payments. In fact, I would argue that even if I had Google Wallet on my Galaxy S III, that would probably be the least used NFC related feature.

You see, mobile payments may attract quite a bit of the NFC related attention, however there are plenty of other use cases. For this post, I will concentrate on two -- sharing of files and automation. More specifically, sharing using S Beam and automation using TecTiles. There are other options available, especially in the form of NFC tags, however given I use a Samsung device -- that is where my experience comes from. Not to mention, given the recent reports telling us how popular Samsung is at the moment, we suspect more than a few others have Galaxy devices in hand.

Beginning first with the sharing. You may remember some Samsung commercials touting this feature. They seemed silly and sort of cheesy at the time, but after putting that to use -- it has proved wonderful. This one is rather simple, assuming both devices have the NFC and S Beam setting turned on -- open the file you want to share, hold the two phones together and then "touch to beam." Personally, this comes in handy for sharing everything from music or video files to images and even links. Sure, you can always email files, however once you are familiar with this method of sharing, sending an email to a person sitting in the same room will feel silly.

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The other item is the automation, something that I am more than a bit obsessed with. I want features on or off depending on where I happen to be at the moment. What better way to get those settings adjusted than to do it with fewer taps. I should point out that I also use a few other apps for this, one called Silence and one called Atooma. Those aside, the Samsung TecTiles work wonders. I have a tile on the light switch in my office. This one is pretty simple, it will make sure my phone is on vibrate so I am not disturbed with a ringing phone while working. I also use a tile in my car. This one does three things, it turns my Bluetooth on, turns my Wi-Fi off and launches Slacker. All items that I want and/or need in the car.

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Of course, sharing and automation are just two examples of what can be done. The moral of the story is that if you happen to think of NFC as only being associated with mobile payments, you may want to give it another thought. We are also a bit curious, is anyone using NFC on a regular basis? If so, what are your use cases?


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  • Guest

    Here’s a simple one. I put an NFC tag on the Roku box on my office desk. The tag, when tapped by my phone, brings up the Roku Android app which gives me a very good Roku remote control.

    • http://www.facebook.com/robertnelson Robert Nelson

      Sometimes the simplest are the best, I am going to do the same in my living room, except with my FiOS box instead of the Roku.

  • jpa00

    I would like to use NFC on my gnex, but for some reason Google has not (yet, at least) made it possible to use NFC chips’ tag emulation mode. It would be so nice to use the phone instead of separate NFC keycards, since the phone is always with me anyway. I hear Blackberry allows tag emulation mode, but although the Z10 is a really nice phone, I’m still too much of an Android type to switch just for this. CyanogenMod has a limited tag emulation mode, but it’s not complete and even with that on, the device still reports a different nfc id for each transaction, which makes most normal uses impossible.

    • n900mixalot

      And what is it you are trying to do with tag emulation mode, hmmm??

      • Andy_in_Indy

        I want to use it as a replacement for the mifare card we use to access and log in at the hackerspace, but I am not the guy you asked. . .

  • n900mixalot

    tagstand has a special developer program going on right now. you should check them out if you are a fan of NFC.

  • http://About.me/Karpantschof Daniel Karpantschof

    Got my Pebble watch yesterday. Thrilled to be using NFC to toggle Bluetooth on and off when leaving the house :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Foosa-Noble/100001939436588 Foosa Noble

    I would love to use Google wallet with my Galaxy note II but NO says Verizon

  • Drstovetop

    I have a GNexus and I have been using NFC and Locale for quite some time now. There are some tasks that Locale just doesn’t handle very well like tasks that don’t happen on the same schedule every day or the big one (which annoys me to no end) when I am leaving a location. There are other tasks that I like to share with my gf and other tasks that I combine with locale using the NFC tag plugin. I have been using GWallet for a long time (VZW can’t keep a good man or woman down) and I only wish I could stop carrying so many cards in my wallet, it’s starting to feel redundant.