CES 2013: Samsung TecTile Programmable NFC Tags Review

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Samsung TecTiles

Samsung TecTiles

In anticipation of tonight’s Samsung announcement, I thought it would be the perfect time to share my thoughts on the TecTile® Programmable NFC Tags which are now available.

For those who might be unfamiliar with what NFC technology, NFC stands for “Near Field Communication” and it’s technology that is akin to bar or QR code scanning. Both can be programmed to do pretty basic tasks like sharing contact or product information while they can also be capable of redirecting to a website as well or launching an application. The main exception between the NFC and regular scanning is the fact that NFC tags are instantly activated when a compatible device is placed near or on top of a programmed NFC tag instead of needing a camera to view and scan a bar or QR code. When the Galaxy S3 launched, posters littered the city embedded with the NFC tags that allowed Galaxy owners the ability to snag free content like books and movies. Today, these tags are available for everyone.

The only question left to answer is: Just how easy is it to program a tag for everyday use?

TecTiles® are programmable stickers that can be placed anywhere and programmed to do a variety of tasks when your Samsung device comes in contact with it. Of course, you will have to have an NFC capable Samsung device as well as remembering to turn it on. In addition to being NFC enabled, you will need to install the “Samsung TecTile” app which is available from the Google Play Store.

Once you’ve installed the app, you’re ready to go ahead and start programming your TecTile®.

Simply select a main category, either Settings & Apps, Phone & Text, Location & Web, and Social. Then drill down to the action you’d like to perform. It’s pretty simple. The entire interface consists of either check boxes or categories to select. Once all your tasks are selected, you’ll have verify then place your device over the TecTile® to officially program the tile. Once your tile has been programmed, all you’ll need to do is simply place your device on top of the tile and allow the app to do the work.

Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it?

The only issue I have encountered is that sometimes the tile just doesn’t reset phone settings properly. It only happened once but I can see others complaining about similar issues on the App’s download page. Sometimes the tile will perform a subset of all the programmed tasks. However, when only programmed to do solitary tasks like switching the phone’s current profile to “Vibrate”, I didn’t have an issue at all. If I had to guess, this issue might arise when trying to set any task that might take a little longer to complete than others.

On the flip side, it was relatively easy to set-up tags and share them with friends. Additionally, the ease of just dropping the phone onto a programmed TecTile® and allowing it to do all the work is just amazing!


Bottom Line

I’d say definitely consider grabbing a TecTile® pack if you find yourself consistently repeating the same set of tasks either at home or work. It’s a huge time saver and they are relatively cheap, $14.99 for a pack containing five tiles. Only downside, and it seems silly to point it out but here it goes: it’s only for Samsung devices with NFC technology built in.