Nokia has released a new tool to help everyone get the most out of the NFC built into their Lumia devices. For those that don’t know, NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and it’s a very short range wireless technology. Basically, you have to touch your device to the NFC tag for a connection to happen. An NFC tag can be loaded with any one of numerous different commands. When you’re phone comes in contact with the tag, the pre-loaded command is sent to the phone and executed. Some simple possibilities are dialing a phone number, toggling Bluetooth or WiFi, and checking in on FourSquare.
Nokia has released an application that will write different configurations to NFC your tags. If you don’t have any NFC tags, you’ll want to pick some up. You can find them all around the internet at various different prices. I picked up a set of 25 for $17.75 ($0.71 each) from BuyNfcTags.com. But that’s just a suggestion. You should search around and buy them from a site you trust.
Nokia NFC Writer can be downloaded in the Windows Phone 8 Store. It’s a 2MB application and it’s free. Once installed, you will be able to load your own custom configurations onto an NFC tag. While it doesn’t support custom macro’s, you can pick from numerous different actions in any of the following categories: Contact, Social, Video+Music, Location+Web, Apps, and Settings. The creation process is really straight forward, pick a category and then tap on an action. For example, Settings / WiFi, or Contact / Make a Call. Depending on the action you selected, you may need to select a contact number, enter a website, or provide some other information. Then you just tap the NFC tag to the back of the phone to write the configuration to the tag and you’re done.
There are a few small annoyances with Nokia’s app. They’re nothing critical, but small things like Settings / Flight Mode actually sets Settings / Bluetooth on the tag. And then there’s labels like Settings / Settings, which actually shows the Bluetooth icon and, you guessed it, sets Bluetooth on the tag. Overall, the app is solid and an awesome addition at the right price. A few little tweaks and some more testing with QA and this could be a real winner.