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.
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.
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?