Samsung is selling five packs of NFC tiles, called TecTiles, that can be easily programmed for a variety of purposes. You simply tap your NFC-equipped smartphone against the TecTile to perform any one of a variety of actions such as checking into a location on foursquare or Facebook or launching an app (The TechCrunh and CNET articles found at the end of this post have other examples).
Checking into a location and starting an app are two uses that could be quite useful for merchants and, given the low cost, even a small business could buy a pack of five for $15 and program a few to check-in or start a retailer’s app. In a retailer’s location, that explicit tap against a TecTile is an equally explicit opt-in for marketing, reminders about specials and coupons, etc.
Sony has a similar product called Smart Tags. Samsung provides free software from the Android Play market for programming the tags.
As we’ve seen, building the NFC ecosystem is going to take years and NFC will have to cohabit with QR codes and other approaches. In the meantime, the TecTiles are a way of generating some consumer familiarity with NFC’s tap-and-go rhythm.