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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

Tectiles / Samsung

samsung tectile nfc sticker

Old Tectile

Download Tectile app; Ensure NFC is on in your phone and tap your phone to a TecTile sticker to download the TecTile app and install it. To turn on NFC, go to settings > more settings > check the NFC box.
– Is the tectile app not available in your country?, quite possible, or just don’t like it? No problem, download another NFC app from Google Play store.
– Android 2.3.3 or newer required for the Tectile app. Most Phones require (an upgrade to) Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) in order to be compatible with TecTiles! shop 5 Tectile stickers retail pack

New Samsung Tectile 2 nfc tags

The new Tectile 2 tags

Metal surface;

TecTiles will not work near metal surfaces. Remove the TecTiles from the metallic protective sleeve before you try to read or program your TecTiles.

Preventing tags being changed;

Check the “Lock TecTile” checkbox before you write the tag. When you do this, nobody can ever change that tag, not even you!

Tag writing;

Open the Samsung TecTile application, choose the type of tag you want to make and what you want it to do (a big list appears with selectable actions), then tap “next”. Once the app is ready to write the tag, hold the back of your phone on a TecTile tag and wait a second (It says when it’s ready).

Tag reading;

You don’t need to be in the Samsung TecTile app to read a TecTile tag. Unlock the Phone, screen on and hold the back of your phone on a TecTile tag and wait a few seconds.

Compatibility;

Some commands, written with the Tectiles app, may not work correctly on devices without the Samsung TecTiles app. Think of app launching and toggling WiFi.

Tectiles app is not needed for; opening URL, call a number, showing message, sending text message and sharing contacts.

All browsers?

TecTiles are designed to work with the built-in browser on your phone. If you install a different browser, you may experience some issues when you scan a TecTile.

Mifare Classic;

The old Samsung TecTiles tags use Mifare Classic chips from NXP, which is NOT one of the four tag types standardized by the NFC Forum!

The use of Mifare Classic chips means that only handsets with NFC controller chips from NXP can read the tags. Mifare is NXP’s proprietary protocol, not open standard.

Update April ’13; Samsung is introducing TecTile 2 tags, an update to the TecTile NFC tags. Probably available from May ’13, we don’t now yet if marked as TecTile 2. Some of them seem to be spotted already, type 4, 884 byte tags. “Old” Tectile tags are Mifare classic type, not compatible with some phones. The new Tectile 2 tags are compatible with all nfc phones.

All Android NFC phones use NXP chips, but BlackBerrys and Nokia’s Lumia 610 (Windows O.S.) have chips from Inside Secure (aug ’12).
Update nov.’12; Since the google nexus 4 with a Broadcom nfc controller chip inside, more and more android phones will not read/write mifare classic nfc tags. But.. see a possible solution in the Mifare classic section, a little further down!

NXP still sells the majority of NFC controller chips but more competition is expected soon. Big chip-makers are developing/selling (“combo”) chips with embedded NFC controller. Possible competitors; Broadcom, Marvell, Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics, Samsung semiconductors and TI. Sooner or later other devices can have problems reading the Tectiles. Update; Several phones have Samsung, Sony, Mediatek, Broadcom or ST NFC controller chips now.

Mifare Classic, NXP’s security protocol, is widely used for many years, especially in public transport. Mifare Classic chips are very cheap and offer a relatively large memory.

UPDATE; Many great enhancements with TecTile app version 3.0

– Program multiple actions to a single TecTile
Customize Profiles; Define preloaded Profiles within the app and program a different TecTile tag to launch each profile, for easy toggling between profiles. Profiles also allow one TecTile to perform customized actions for different users when tapped.
Store TecTile tag history; Users can now keep a log of all TecTile tags they program for easy reference.
Create private TecTile tags; Create private TecTile tags that only the owner’s phone can read. TecTile 3.0 will associate the programmer’s email address to all private TecTile tags and will only allow execution of a TecTile command to the programmer’s device.
Unlock a previously locked TecTile; A TecTile programmer can unlock a previously locked TecTile, or clear a TecTile without having to overwrite with a new command. This is beneficial for both consumers and commercial users who want to extend the value of their TecTile tags while retaining the secure option to lock a TecTile.

Samsung also expanded the list of phone settings that TecTile can change when tapped, including the addition of Airplane mode, more comprehensive alarm settings and the ability to automatically change a ringtone. In addition, TecTile 3.0 can now integrate with more applications to give users a more comprehensive experience.
Specifically, TecTile can now:
– Share or edit an electronic business card, forward a call or send a pre-written email to a specific address.
– Toggle between Play/Pause settings on Music Player, or play a specific track
– In addition to integration with LinkedIn, Facebook and foursquare, program a TecTile to update a Google+ status, start a Google Talk conversation, check in on Google Places or on Glympse location sharing.

(The new Tectile app now operates like a “hybrid nfc app”. A part as a “normal” nfc app, storing commands on the tag. And a part as the Sony smartTag app, associating saved data on your phone with the found tag.)

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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