Samsung Programmable NFC Labels Dubbed TecTiles


Samsung has introduced programmable NFC tags for Android – and they are an anagram of “testicle”

Samsung has introduced an NFC app and customisable stickers that are designed to automate the functions of its Android devices.

Known as Samsung TecTiles, the system consists of an Android-based app, which works in conjunction with NFC-enabled TecTile stickers or labels.

Customisable actions

The idea is that in addition to the traditional NFC functions of mobile payments, the Samsung TecTiles system uses the NFC labels or stickers, which the user places where he or she wants their phone to carry out a particular action or function.

For example, the user could place one of the labels in their car, so that when a user gets in the car and taps their smartphone to the label, the phone automatically switches to driving mode (i.e turns off Wi-Fi and activates Bluetooth). Alternatively, the user could place a label at the home entrance, in order to allow the user to tap the label and active the phone’s home mode, or active Wi-Fi access or silent mode.

Another use is for social events, when a label could be placed on a noticeboard or advert, and the user simply taps his phone to the noticeboard or advert to gain more information. Social network check-ins are also supported, so shops etc could place the sticker by the door to allow the user to tap it when they enter. This in turn reveals the user’s location to his or her online community.

It seems that TecTiles can be programmed to perform about 25 tasks in total, including the sharing of contact information, making a call and opening a web page, amongst others. The functions of the TecTiles can be locked by the app, but can also be reprogrammed as and when needed.

Samsung is selling the NFC TecTiles labels in packs of five for $14.99 (£9.75) in the United States from its official website. There is no mention at this time about its availability in the UK.

NFC Labels

Samsung is not the first to utilise the concept of NFC stickers or labels. In the UK, Barclaycard is conducting a TV advertising campaign of its PayTag.

TechWeekEurope revealed back in April that the Barclaycard PayTag label, which is an NFC label designed to be stuck to the back of a humble mobile phone, will let Barclaycard customers make NFC micropayments, without the need to upgrade to the latest smartphone that boasts an embedded NFC chip.

The label is available at no cost and exclusively to Barclaycard Visa cardholders, acting as an extension to the user’s existing credit card account.

Barclays and Visa have so far pioneered contactless payments in the UK and have already installed terminals in 56,000 locations such as the O2 in London.

But concerns remain over the security issues associated with NFC. In March, a Channel 4 investigation warned that up to 13 million users of Barclays’ contactless debit and credit cards could be defrauded using NFC-enabled smartphones. That investigation found smartphones integrated with NFC technology could be adapted to collect sensitive data from cards with just a quick swipe.

In February PayPal hit out at NFC technology at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, saying point-of-sales terminals would be obsolete in retail by the time the technology achieves mass adoption.

This came after a survey last October, which revealed Britons remain sceptical about the potential security risks of NFC. That Intersperience research found that 44 percent worry about the lack of security software on mobile phones and only 17 percent of consumers want to use mobiles as wallets in future.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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