Samsung TecTiles Tags Make Smartphones Smarter

Dennis Faas's picture

Many people are pegging 'tap sensitivity' as the next untapped technology in the race to make smartphones even smarter.

Now, a new set of programmable tags working alongside the next generation of Samsung and HTC smartphones seem ready to put this idea into practice. The hope is that everyday routines can one day be controlled with the simple tap of a mobile device.

In addition to rolling out its new flagship Galaxy S III smartphone (set to launch in June or July, 2012), Samsung will also release its first batch of smart tags called "TecTiles".

Basically, these are tags in the form of stickers that can be programmed so that when someone taps a telephone number on a business card, for example, the phone will automatically dial the stored number.

Similarly, such a sticker can be placed on a nightstand and set to 'alarm clock mode,' so a phone placed there will automatically receive the command to hold all calls until morning. (Source:

NSF + Ice Cream Sandwich = Future of Smartphones

This new technology is made possible by a new type of communication hardware called Near-Field Communications (NSF), which is already embedded in many popular smartphones. NSF complements long-range cellular radio, medium-range WiFi, and short-range Bluetooth connectivity.

This NSF technology works with Google's newest version of the Android operating system, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, allowing smartphones to communicate with one another and automatically share information, contacts, and other data.

However, Samsung is taking NSF one step further with its Galaxy S III: tapping two such smartphones together sets up a WiFi connection, and giving such a phone another tap tells it to transfer photos or even hefty video files from one phone to the other.

The HTC EVO 4G LTE is also said to be able to read and respond to these new Samsung tags. (Source:

Sony Phones Excluded

There is one small concern in all this, though:

Sony recently rolled out its own set of coin-like plastic tags intended to trigger unique commands on smartphones for the home and office.

While the Samsung tags can be read by any phone running 'Ice Cream Sandwich,' Sony phones are not compatible with other manufacturers' tag systems.

Samsung's TecTiles are expected to be released in the near future. $15 will get you five stickers.

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