The Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone is set to release here in the United States this month. However, an innocuous accessory that will be sold alongside the Galaxy might be worth more excitement than the phone itself. Samsung will sell TecTiles, a set of five NFC (near field communication) stickers that function however you want them to. NFC is the same tech that allows for tap-and-pay credit card and electronic ticket transactions, as an example.
An NFC-embedded sticker can be put anywhere you like and, using a corresponding app, set to control anything you want it to. For example, stick a TecTile on your nightstand and in the evening, when you crawl into bed, tap your phone to the sticker. Your phone will change to "night mode" and activate the morning alarm.
Stick one on your car's dash, and as soon as you get in to drive, the tile will automatically switch your phone to Bluetooth mode for driving and send a text to your loved one, letting him or her know you're on your way. Other possibilities included automatic check-ins through Foursquare or Facebook, sharing contacts or launching apps. No word yet on whether or not the stickers or the app will be available on phones other than Samsung.
Recently, NFC has been used for payment systems and mass transit, with so-so results. Implementing this kind of user-controlled system may broaden the technology’s horizon and make it a universally accepted way to navigate mobile devices in a more user-friendly way. TecTiles will be sold five to a pack at $15 on June 21.