Mar 16, 2016

Top 5 NFC Uses on Android (Sorry iPhone Users)

NFC uses

NFC Uses – What makes NFC unique?

The thing that makes NFC technology uniquely useful is because it is completely free and you don’t have to have an internet connection to use this technology in order to perform certain tasks that we’re going to discuss today. Personally, I am a big fan of this technology and this might also be one of the many reasons why I prefer Android Smartphone over iPhone. You can check my first article that I wrote here at Nullmag, Is NFC The Future?. That article was just an overview of what actually NFC is as a lot of people don’t know about it or even if they do they don’t know what it is actually capable of. So, today I am going to go over the top 5 NFC uses and NFC Tags, in detail.

Top 5 features of NFC

Following are the top 5 NFC uses that iPhone users are missing out.


1) Google Wallet


NFC uses

 NFC uses

Today, almost all major retail stores have ‘tap and pay’ facility. They let you tap your NFC enabled smartphone on the credit card machine to pay for your merchandise. Google Wallet is an incredible app that allows you to store all types of credit cards, debit cards, gift cards and even special coupons in your phone. What that means is that you no longer have to carry your wallet with you. You can just simply go to a store and buy your goods by just tapping your smartphone on the NFC reader. The best part is that as your cards are stored on the phone you don’t need an internet connection during this process. This is purely based on NFC.

In order to setup up Google Wallet, first download the free Google Wallet app from the Play Store and use your google account to login and activate your wallet. This is completely free! Google might ask you to verify certain things for security and might also ask you to set a PIN. Once, setup is complete you can add any card you want in the app and you’re ready to amaze people by paying from your phone. This is my favorite among the top 5 NFC uses.


2) Bed Time


NFC uses

I have talked about NFC Tag in my previous article. They are basically small chips that can be read by NFC enabled devices like your smartphone. You can program these small chips directly from your smartphone using different apps like Trigger and NFC Writer. Read my previous article here for more detail. Recently, I found an NFC tag laying around in my closet, so I decided to program it to perform certain tasks whenever I tap my phone on it. I put it on the bed side table and now whenever I am about to go to sleep all I do is place my phone on the NFC tag and it automatically dims the phone’s screen display, turns of WiFi and Bluetooth (to save battery); it also silences my phone and sends a message to the person calling me that I am sleeping (because I don’t need anyone to bother me while I’m dreaming). Plus, it sets an alarm to wake me up in the morning. All of this with just a single tap.

I used two apps to make this possible; Trigger and Tasker (see my article ‘The Best Android App‘ to know more about Tasker). Trigger lets you program the NFC Tag and tasker opens up a lot more possibilities by letting you make different profiles (like, sending a text message whenever someone calls me if my phone is in silent mode). Of course, you can program your NFC tag to do whatever you want, but that’s how I use it everyday and this is why it’s my second favorite feature among all other NFC uses. It helps save a lot of battery and also avoid disturbances. If you don’t know how to program these tags and make profiles using tasker let me know in the comments section below.


3) Business Cards



Now clearly, paper business cards aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. But, wouldn’t it be cool if you use a custom NFC tag as your business card that gives the person all your business details including phone numbers and address by just swiping the tag. I recently participated in the Freshmen design project at my college where we were showcasing our invention to a lot of companies. Whenever someone come visit our booth, I would give these NFC tags, that I have pre-programmed, to the person. The tag would directly take them to our website and online resumes whenever they scan it with there NFC enabled smartphone. This worked awesome and our group was able to impress a lot of people with our unique idea.

The app NFC TagWriter by NXP allows you to easily program NFC chips in order to open certain websites. You still need an android smartphone to program these NFC tags. Isn’t it a great idea to have a couple of these handy in order to impress some important people. And, that’s the reason why it is one of the top 5 NFC uses on the list.


4) Wireless Charging

NFC technology is the root of wireless charging and that’s what made wireless charging possible. I love this feature on my Nexus 5 and have almost never used a cable to charge my Nexus 5 since I bought it. Today, almost every flagship device in coming with NFC and Qi wireless charging feature except iPhone (another reason why I don’t like iPhone). Most people still thinks that NFC wireless charging is slow and might ruin the internal component of the phone over time. This is completely wrong. Companies have taken wireless charging to a whole new level now and it is completely safe and sometimes even gives you faster charging. How convenient it is to just put your phone down to charge it? Well, if you’re asked me that, I would say it’s a lot convenient than you might think. Especially, when you are driving; just place the phone down and it starts to charge. We are moving to a wireless era so why not wirelessly charge phones and we all know how much we hate cables! That’s why wireless charging was able to make its place among the top 5 NFC uses.


5)  Boarding Passes/ Train Tickets


Having your monthly train pass on your phone would definitely make your life easier. People who travel by train everyday knows how annoying it might get sometimes when you realize that you forgot your e-pass at home or, you missed the train while trying to take out your pass from your wallet. Using NFC technology to store your passes on your phone would certainly heavenly – fy your life. NJ Transit is soon planning to bring passes to phones that uses NFC Technology and will work even without an internet connection. This technology had yet to be implemented; therefore, right now it is last among the top 5 NFC uses.

These were the top 5 and my own favorite NFC uses. Make sure to check out my previous article on NFC.

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