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When I bought my Samsung Galaxy SIII, there was a big buzz about the new phones on the market supporting NFC (Near-Field Communications). However, given that Blutooth exchange of files and even the somewhat more powerful Wi-Fi Direct protocols were already available to allow files to be exchange, it seems to me that yet another technology (NFC), when used to transfer files, doesn't add much to what was already available.

Hence, the true value of NFC should be its ability to read RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags. However, I have not been able to find any of these devices anywhere, and I'm not sure if it's because these are less used abroad where I am living or not. So, where can I find these devices?

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NFC tags are one type of RFID tags. NFC is a protocol for RFID, which can be understand by more and more devices. You can buy NFC tags on amazon or other websites.

What can I do with that tags? You can trigger something when you touch your phone to that tag. For example a NFC tag in your car which turns on Bluetooth, mutes your phone and turns off the lock screen. Then you can put the tag anywhere in your car and when you touch it your phone will be in your "car-mode" However this requires some apps to work. For example 'Trigger' (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jwsoft.nfcactionlauncher) or 'NFC Tasks' are great apps for this purpose.

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    There are very useful apps like Trigger (play.google.com/store/apps/…). They can trigger different things if you attach a configured NFC Tag. (WiFi on/off, audio on/off, wake on lan for computers, and much more). I'am using "NFC Tasks" for a while and i am really happy with that. – Timo Schwarzer Dec 3 '14 at 5:05
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    I edited my answer – Timo Schwarzer Dec 3 '14 at 5:28
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    Simply, you can save a specified amount of bytes (max. 1KB on some NFC tags; usually around 150B) of data on a NFC tag. Then you can do what you want with that data. So it is possible to store WiFi credentials on a NFC tag and people in a hotel for example can simply touch their phone to that tag and get WiFi. Or, there are some ways to use a NFC tag to bypass your lockscreen in android, which is very useful cause you don't need a PIN or a password anymore. (But this requires a rooted phone and Xposed) – Timo Schwarzer Dec 3 '14 at 14:46
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    The apps do register their own protocols in android. So if there is a trigger app, it could have the trigger:// prefix (like http:// for websites etc). Then, when a tag is attached to the phone, android decides which app to use for this data. For common things like coordinates or address book entries there are predefined formats how they have to be stored on the tag. – Timo Schwarzer Dec 3 '14 at 16:45
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    This trigger:// was only an example for the possibilities to bind an app to a specified protocol. – Timo Schwarzer Dec 3 '14 at 21:25

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