The most underutilized feature of my Nexus 4 has got to be the NFC. I can’t use it for payments because no one in India supports it. I can’t charge because the only decent charger for the Nexus 4 is not available in India and is really too expensive. What I can use it for is to automate tasks that I do every time I am in a particular situation.
Before I go on, I had no idea that NFC tags were so easy to come by in India. There are more than enough people selling it on eBay and such and they are fairly priced. I picked up a set of 5 for less than 500 bucks. Granted, they aren’t branded on anything, and are pretty boring to look at, but they work as advertised.
Coming back to the automation part, once I had the NFC tags, I had to get the right app. After toying around with a few of them available in the app store (Anytag Launcher, Trigger, NFC Tools, Wiip NFC), I finally settled on Trigger. As the name suggests, Trigger can be used to trigger actions based on certain events, and NFC is just one of the triggers that can be the starting point for many kinds of automation that you can achieve.
Trigger features a nice, clean interface that just begs to be used. Very inviting. Compared to all the others, this is the one that I wouldn’t mind spending my time in. As I mentioned above, NFC is just one of the triggers that this app can automate around. You can also use the bluetooth and the WiFi as triggers in the free version of the app. In the Pro version, you can use many more triggers, like: battery percentage or time or the geographic location.
Once you have chosen the “trigger” you can choose the actions that need to be automated. There are many actions to choose from like: WiFi, bluetooth, sound, display, applications, media, tweet, check-in, calendar, navigation and many more. I can’t think of something that I would like to do on the device which is not listed here. It’s pretty exhaustive. Once you choose the categories, you can choose the action. For example, if you chose WiFi as a category, then would you like the WiFi to be turned on or off. Or would you want the hotspot to be activated. Here you can carry out actions like check-ins and tweeting as well.
The app also gives you an option that is useful and saves time in the form of a “switch”, for cases where you want to use the same task to toggle between the two actions. For example, tapping the NFC tag for WiFi “on” again switches the WiFi “off”. The possibilities are only limited by your use case. As an additional feature, you can also buy NFC tags and gadgets directly from the app using Google Wallet.
The Pro version of the app is available as an upgrade from within the app at 184 rupees. The best is that that free version has no ads and should meet most people’s needs. Especially if you are only going to work mostly with NFC.
Honourable mention – Wiip NFC Tags is also good looking and very functional.