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NFC tags; about Tectiles, SmartTags, Tag+, Mifare and much more

NFC tags; about Tectiles, SmartTags, Tag+, Mifare and much more

You find a ton of information about tags on these pages, and still updating to make it as complete as possible. A mix of tips, tricks, facts, known problems, user feedback.

Buy NFC Tags with universal compatibility

General info

Adjusting phone settings is not standardized by the NFC-Forum. Do not expect to make one tag that does the job on every phone. Windows Phone 8 O.S. does not allow tags to adjust settings!

– The write endurance for Ultralight tags is 10,000 cycles, they have a 5 year data retention period. Other tags do 100.000 – 500.000 cycles and have a 10 year data retention period.

– Tags from Phone-manufacturers (Samsung Tectiles, Sony SmartTags) are relatively expensive, just buy other tags. Still doubts after reading this page? Online shops seems to be very helpfull, just email.

NTAG203 is recommended by many shops. appropriate for ALL nfc devices! Compatible with NFC Forum Type 2 specifications. Highest ScanStrength, in many cases most value for your money.
Higher ScanStrength means a greater scanning distance.
Some phones read over a greater distance than others, up to 40 mm in practice for the best phone with the best tag. Sometimes the phone really has to touch the tag to read or write.

– Before tapping, make sure Phone is unlocked, NFC is on, and screen/backlight is on. You can scan a tag while a windows phone is locked, as long as you see the locked screen display.

pre-installed app is not necessary
The trend is more pre-installed NFC apps on new nfc enabled handsets, phones doing more nfc tricks out of the box.
The preinstalled apps are more basic and made in order to work with the own included tags.
More and more and ever better free/paid apps from the stores. Some offer more options (clone tags, p2p support, store log), offer better compatibility or just do the job more easier.

multiple NFC apps

Multiple nfc app on your device can cause problems. Tapping a tag can open the wrong app or it doesn’t happen what you want. Don’t forget to choose/change the default applications in the settings!

Memory capacity;

Notice the small memory capacity of a tag. Some have only 48 byte storage, which is about 4 commands or about 40 characters. Think about a bigger 144 bytes tag for a 130 character URL.
NTAG203 is ok for most applications. For a Vcard buy 1k mifare classic or find a newer NTAG 215/216 type 2 tag.

Metal;

NFC stickers placed on metal will not work due to interference from the metal. Buy on-metal/anti-metal stickers, designed for use on metal surfaces. These are thicker because an extra isolation layer.
If you want to put the tag on the back of your phone or on another electronic, use this type. These block the EMF from the phone. shop 10 outdoor UL anti metal stickers

material / shape

NFC tags are rapidly gaining in popularity. More and more tag products in the catalogs. On-metal, outdoor, sticker, key fob, card, circle or square. With the help of the item description in the store, choosing will be no problem.

Desktop PC;

Reading/Writing tags with a PC is possible, look for a “kit” for it.

Best tag for your device;various stickers

Experimenting different tags and googling your specific handset can help choosing the best type for your handset (user feedback; “sometimes tapping for 10 seconds before anything happens”). You know the exact place of the nfc antenna in your phone? See the User guide of your phone! Shops sell sample kits / testing sets.

Buying nfc tags; A nice list of places that sell NFC tags at xda-developers.

NFC ReTAG app; This app does not write or change any NFC tags, reads only the ID of a tag. Re-use (write protected) NFC Tags such as hotel key-cards, access badges, price tags, lift cards or key fobs. You can use this app to associate multiple functions to a specific NFC Tag via an app internal database.
(Works similar as the Sony Xperia smartTag app)

About the author

Joao Rostli

23 comments

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  1. steven

    How do I prevent NFC tag cloning?
    Can WP8.1 device read the UID of a NFC tag?

    1. Joao Rostli

      NFC tags have no guaranteed protection against cloning.
      WP 8.x devices cannot read UID at the moment.

    2. Tag NFC

      About cloning, if you mean copying what’s written in the Tag, you can’t protect it.
      But the UID, instead, that is unique and not falsifiable.

  2. Liam Caffrey

    Does the new anticollision feature on NTAG21X tags mean that several tags can be read by an NFC reader at the same time (i.e. identify the NDEF from multiple tags (say 3 or 4) in a single presentation).

    If so, will existing NFC phones be able to take advantage? Also, will the existing Android SDKs be able to handle anticollision?

    1. Joao Rostli

      Sorry, I can’t answer your questions.
      Look at http://www.nxp.com for anticollision info.
      More info about Android SDK’s at http://www.stackoverflow.com.

  3. Mark

    Any confirmation as to which chips are inside the TecTiles 2? I’ve heard Type 4 but I’m curious how much they hold and which tag they are.

    1. Joao Rostli

      Update April ’13; “Some of them seem to be spotted already, type 4, 884 byte tags.”
      Since April I didn’t found more info about the Tectiles 2.
      Joao Rostli recently posted..LG D605 phone with new Broadcom BCM43341 quad-combo (+ nfc) chip My Profile

      1. Mark

        Thanks. I know they were using the Mifare 1K’s with the first generation of TecTiles but I can’t find what they’re using for the second round (other than what you posted). Yeah, info seems to peter out after the initial announcement of a product.

        1. Joao Rostli

          “Genuine Samsung TecTiles 2 NFC Tags MIFARE DESFire EV1 1K Type 4 Tag” I saw on Ebay, but not a Samsung advertisement.

          1. Mark

            Thanks!

  4. THG

    Hi

    This is a very interesting article and a wonderful job! However you don’t mention anything about NFC-v (vicinity mode). It’d be relevant that you complete this comprehensive review of the NFC ecosystem with a section about NFC-v chips such as NXP icode family.

    I work a lot with this product and til now we know that is readable with Android and BB handsets. Moreover I heard that Windows is evaluating it to update its NFC API sooner or later. At last another rumor let me believe that the NFC forum has a dedicated chair working an it as well.

    I’ll be glad to exchange with anybody interesting in NFC-v and may be bring additional intelligence to the discussion.

    thanks

    1. Joao Rostli

      THG, thank you very much for your contribution.
      I’ll put it on my to do list.
      Joao Rostli recently posted..HTC FirstMy Profile

  5. Randy

    What software can I use to program tags using a pc?

    Can i write a tag to turn off my phone or go into silent mode? I want to do this for windows and android.

    Thanks

    1. Joao Rostli

      The nfc reader/writer should come with software included. Check before you buy one.
      Sorry, no idea about programming options.
      Joao Rostli recently posted..New Samsung phones with Visa nfc contactless payments appMy Profile

  6. dsethia

    Thanks for the detailed post. Are NTAG21x tags compatible with Android Samsung phones like s3? Are there any apps specific to add signature and password protection?

    I am looking for secure write protected reusable tags that can be used in healthcare for tagging medicines, and other healthcare entities. any suggestions will be very helpful.

    1. Joao Rostli

      “Are NTAG21x tags compatible with Android Samsung phones like s3?” NTAGs are compatible with all nfc enabled phones.
      “write protected reusable tags” Most write protected tags are not reusable.
      Maybe helpful;
      1 Apps like “NFC ReTag” or “Anytag nfc launcher” do associate functions to a specific NFC Tag via an app internal database. These apps write nothing to the tag.
      2 (latest) Tectile app; Creates private TecTile tags that only the owner’s phone can read. The app can Unlock a previously locked TecTile. (Samsung’s tectile is a mifare classic tag and not compatible with all nfc enabled devices)

      Possibly a professional solution with type 4 tags exists?

  7. Glynn

    I found a great place for cool android themed tags is andytags.com – they have Mifare classic 1k and the ntag203 kind. Also have cool design and bunch of different colors

    1. Joao Rostli

      thank you Andy

  8. makandi

    thank u for this usefull subject.

  9. Tyler

    I can’t seem to find any specs anywhere. What’s a good replacement for the LG tag+ tags? Since I can’t seem to find any of those to buy anywhere either.

    1. Joao Rostli

      Yes, hard to find more info about tag+ tags. With an android phone, practically all tags are o.k.. In the worst case (pre-installed LG apps don’t work with other tags) you must install another nfc app. In Google play store, good and free apps available, NFC Task Launcher is very popular.
      Don’t forget to make the new app default.
      Joao Rostli recently posted..Asus PadFone 2 ann.My Profile

  10. panapena

    Hi,
    anyone has experience reading ISO 14443 typ B – cards with Nexus S or galaxy III or lumia 920?
    Thx.

    1. Joao Rostli

      This must be about forum type 4 tags ?
      Feedback from Lumia 920 owners will be difficult to find…

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