The most practical, creative ways to use NFC with your Android device
The free Android app lets you program an NFC tag that, when tapped with an NFC-enabled device, gives the phone
or tablet instant access to the associated Wi-Fi network. Place the NFC tag on a phone
dock or your desk's surface and program it to decrease brightness, disable sounds, enable Wi-Fi, and enable auto-sync. Stick an NFC tag on an existing keychain, or order a customized NFC keychain online, and program it to complete a task you often do on the go. This can be anything from putting your phone
in hot-spot mode to firing up your favorite playlist. If you have a phone
dock by your bed (or want to DIY your own), place a tag near the dock and program it to disable sounds, enable any alarms, disable auto-sync, disable the notification LED, and decrease the brightness. Even with all of Google's efforts, Wallet is still a niche product, mostly due to the lack of NFC-ready credit card terminals and NFC-ready phones
and tablets. So far, Google Wallet is one of the only services that has invested in building an infrastructure that allows users to replace credit cards with NFC-enabled phones. Tap once to enable Bluetooth, and tap again to disable it when you're done typing. I asked for your ideas on Twitter and user @litcritter suggested sticking an NFC tag on the back of a portable Bluetooth keyboard. Their examples include a tag on your desk that opens a to-do list, or placing a tag near a product that links to a note with instructions on how to use it. For more examples and the full walkthrough, check out the video on YouTube. Before the user can make a purchase, he or she must tap their NFC-ready credit card (or phone) on the attached unit. Fellow CNETer Jeff Sparkman suggests, "Program an NFC tag to open YouTube and play the video for "Never Gonna Give You Up. " Hide tag near your target. Lockitron has developed an easy-to-install system that allows you to unlock your front door by simply waving your phone in front of the door handle. If you use the Switch option, you can tap the tag again on your way out and have it disable the previously enabled features. Soon enough, we might see Bluetooth or Wi-Fi speakers with NFC built-in. In their example, a small NFC-enabled unit is connected to a laptop. And, if you're an extra attentive husband or wife, the tag can also be programmed to send your loved one a text message alerting them that you've left the office and are on the way home. For zero distractions, program the tag to enable airplane mode. With that in place, a phone or tablet can be paired with a speaker by simply tapping the two devices. Then, instead of entering a PIN, the user would draw a gesture on their credit card (or phone) before finalizing the purchase. If you'd like to give guests at home (or at an office) access to your Wi-Fi network without giving up your password, check out InstaWifi. Quickly pair with a Bluetooth keyboard. Put an NFC tag next to your washing machine and dryer that, when tapped, fires up a timer. Bluetooth pairing. Or, use the tag to fire up your favorite fitness app and playlist or streaming music app. If an NFC tag that contains a link is scanned, the Android device will not ask for permission before launching the browser. com dives deep into the future of NFC to discuss a handful of practical ways the technology could be integrated into our future lives. Future possibilities Since NFC is still making its way to the mainstream, third parties have not yet integrated the technology into many products or services. With Touchanote , a free app that won the Evernote Developers Competition, tags can be programmed to link directly to specific notes. The least practical, but arguably the most entertaining application of NFC tags is for pranks and rickrolling. The fitness types might benefit from an NFC tag on their workout armband or gym bag. Hints of such a solution are creeping in, as Google's music streaming device, the Nexus Q, includes NFC, but the company has not yet revealed its purpose. One of the more compelling ideas is using NFC to propel more secure online shopping. Download the app from the Google Play store to get started ( link ). Auto-start timers. There's a photo, complete explanation, and more futuristic NFC ideas on Geek. ) NFC-based solutions that can make our lives easier. The challenge here is that creating such an infrastructure is expensive , takes time, and its success relies on the consumers' awareness of NFC. NFC keychain.