Over the last few months, we’ve talked about many different of simulating some of the built-in features of the Moto X on other devices. This includes apps (and open source projects) that deliver Active Display functionality and make Google Now listen to you at all times. A new modification courtesy of XDA Senior Member MohammadAG has appeared, and it allows any NFC tag to be programmed to function like the Motorola Skip.
The app, aptly titled NFC Unlocking, comes in the form of an Xposed Module. Because of this, you will need to have XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed Framework (thread) installed. Once the module is installed, simply activate it from your modules list and reboot. The module is based on previous work (NFCLockScreenOffEnabler) by qwerty12, as well as modifications by madfish73. MohammadAG then built from this to create his module.
So what exactly does this module do? Similar in function to the $20 Motorola Skip (essentially a glorified, non-writeable NFC tag), NFC Unlocking unlocks your device when a preregistered NFC tag is tapped to the device’s NFC sensor. And since this module forces your NFC sensor to stay active even when the screen is off, the mod works without having to first power on the display. The app also allows for a bit more freedom than the official offering, as you can set a detection sound, timeout, multiple authorized tags, and more.
You can get started by visiting the module thread.
As we talked about a little while ago, NFC can accomplish far more than “merely” serving as a replacement for your credit card. After all, while incredibly cool, NFC mobile payments make up just one potential use for the technology—and one that not very many devices support in the first place due to the lack of an NFC secure element.
One such alternative use for the technology is automation. Due to having two young children with a penchant for Netflix viewing, XDA Forum Member odwdinc decided to streamline a method to control various apps by using NFC tags. His guide uses physical tags, as well as a few add-on programs to script many complicated input tasks that would otherwise be difficult for young one (or those otherwise unable to use smartphones).
The guide is currently a work-in-progress, as “only” Pandora, Netflix, Skype, and YouTube are supported. Furthermore, the list of URIs that are used are undocumented, and thus may stop working at any time.
The guide currently is aimed at advanced users and those who can contribute. This is because the individual steps for calling the URIs via Tasker and NFC Task Launcher are not yet described. However, if you have experience using these programs and all you need are the commands, this is a great place to start. And if you know of additional URIs to accomplish more tasks with more apps, please feel free to contribute.
Head over to the original thread to get started on the journey towards NFC-based app access and control.
September 23, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The past few articles featuring some presentations from the recent XDA:DevCon 2013 have focused on operating systems and app development. From great app development presentations to Ubuntu Touch development and even a Firefox OS presentation, these topics were thoroughly covered. However, that doesn’t mean that we forgot about the hardware.
Our next presentation was given by the NFC lady, Pearl Chen. Pearl is known for educating people about many different topics, from web development to Arduino and NFC. Pearl is a published author and contributed to the NFC and Open Accessory API chapters of Professional Android Sensor Programming published by Wrox.
In her presentation “NFC: Thinking Creatively Beyond Mobile Payments,” Pearl talks about how near field communications (NFC) is already here. This is even though the iPhone doesn’t have it, so the main stream media thinks it doesn’t exist. This technology can be used for much more than waving your phone at the cash register. In this presentation, Pearl leads you though an NFC journey to discover some unexpected ways that NFC can be used on Android phones that go beyond the checkout line. Find out interesting ways you can use NFC in your next app or in your everyday life, and check out the video.
If you want to see more or get a copy of the presentations slides, visit the XDA:DevCon Presentations page.
When you’re out and you meet someone new, what do you do? Chances are that if they’re interesting, you add them to your contacts list. Most people do this by sending a message to their new friend so that both parties have each other’s contact info. But it’s now 2013, and there should be a better way than entering in contact details and manually texting afterward.
Thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor SystemErrorOne‘s new application AddMeNow, adding contacts is now significantly easier. When you first load the application, you enter your contact information. Once you’ve entered in your information and added a picture, you can add new contacts. After you’ve entered your new contact’s information, you can add them via call or text, which sends them your contact information that you entered previously.
Sweetening the pot further, SystemErrorOne is also providing the premium version of his application free of charge to XDA community members! The free version does away with ads, allows for custom text in the Add with Text option, and most importantly, allows for contact details to be shared via NFC. Future versions will incorporate MMS functionality so that your profile picture will also be sent along with your contact details.
If you often find yourself meeting new friends and sharing your contact info, make the process more efficient by heading over to the application thread and giving AddMeNow a shot. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the second post for the XDA User-exclusive free premium download and be sure to leave your feedback for the developer in the thread.
Two months ago, we took a look at an innovative alternative use for NFC tags. Rather than activating when touching a device to a tag, XDA Forum Member madfish73 came up with a method to perform actions when removing a device from an NFC tag. To accomplish this, madfish73 showed us how to modify a device’s NFC.apk to add in the android.nfc.action.TAG_LOST intent and then use that to activate tasks with a modified AnyTag application.
Naturally, this was a bit of a cumbersome process, and many users who would otherwise benefit ended up passing on the idea because of the inherent hassle. Luckily, Recognized Developer rovo89 created the powerful and versatile Xposed framework, which made the installation of various types of modifications as simple as installing a module APK and activating it. Madfish73 has since turned his modification into an Xposed module, allowing you to install with minimal strife.
Just as before, you are able to create tags that perform certain actions when placing and removing a tag. Madfish73 gives a couple of examples of useful tag profiles such for use on a bedside night table and in your car dock, but the possibilities are (almost) endless.
If you held off before due to the complexity of the modifications required, now’s your chance. Head over to the original thread to get started.
We previously featured a mod for the Samsung Galaxy S3 teaching folks how to unlock the device with NFC. This is quite a useful function if you’ve teamed your device up with an NFC-enabled case or with a Tasker setup. However, it was unfortunate that only one device could take advantage of this. Now thanks to XDA Senior Member peurocs4, a few more devices will be able to enjoy this function.
Peurocs4 has created a guide enabling users of devices with the ‘NFC on lockscreen’ mod such as the HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, and Samsung Galaxy S4 to unlock their devices with NFC. Additional requirements include a rooted device, the apps Secure Settings, Tasker and NFC Task Manager, and of course, an NFC tag that can be written over. Instructions are written with clear and easily understandable steps, and are aided with accompanying screenshots of the various settings and steps so you won’t miss a thing.
In addition to the already established end result, once the process is done, you’ll also be able to bypass the lock screen straight to your home screen with NFC, and lock the device again. If you’d like to see it done yourself, peurocs4 has attached a video demonstrating just exactly how it works.
If you want to give this a whirl, check out the original thread for more information and detailed instructions.
One of the biggest gripes we have with our NFC-enabled devices is the somewhat unnecessary requirement of having to unlock them in order to activate NFC. This requirement effectively reduces the practicality of our many enabled stickers, tags, and gadgets, as it leads to another inconvenient step that limits the use of NFC in the first place.
There is good news, though, as a couple of good folks here have created mods that allows for NFC activation when the device’s screen is off or at the lock screen. This has been made possible by XDA Senior Member StephanSch for the following devices:
This mod is also available for the Samsung Galaxy S4 thanks to XDA Senior Member OptimalKiller. The mods come in some variation of a modified NFC APK that is then moved to the /system/apps directory, thus requiring root access. It’s important to note that the mods are compatible with only certain specific builds, frameworks, and devices. Because of this, you have to make sure to download and install the correct version. Also, make some sort of backup to ensure that you can revert the effects if things go awry.
For more information and detailed instructions, visit the threads for the following devices: HTC One, One X, EVO 4G LTE, Sony Xperia Z, Xperia P, Xperia Sola, Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, and Galaxy S4.
June 19, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
From HTML to LEDs or Android to Arduino, Hardware Hacking is a pastime of many people including XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler. Another hardware enthusiast is Pearl Chen. When working on something, she takes on a cross-disciplinary approach. With over 9 years of professional experience in web technologies, Pearl has a body of work that includes Facebook campaigns for Google Chrome and microsites for Nike. Pearl also tackles more unusual jobs such as modifying the guts of Nintendo Wii controllers and dynamically creating origami objects from SMS messages.
Alongside contributing to open source educational resources hosted on Github, Pearl is a published author and contributed the NFC and Open Accessory API chapters to Professional Android Sensor Programming. Pearl enjoys building tools for other educators and her goal is to raise the bar for technology education by using collaborative platforms to help construct open source curriculums and by creating engaging and effective educational user experiences.
With this impressive resume, we invited Pearl to speak at XDA:DevCon 2013. In her session, Pearl will talk about near field communications or NFC. So quit waiting for Google Wallet to come to your local retailer, or for the next rumored iPhone with built-in mobile payment to ship, because NFC is already here. This technology can be used for much more than waving your phone at the cash register. Pearl with show you some unexpected ways that NFC can be utilized on Android phones (and other NFC-enabled devices) that go beyond the checkout line.
Using NFC to launch actions or perform certain tasks when you tap your device on a tag is a pretty cool thing. In fact, it’s hardly something new, as we’ve even covered a few tools that let you do so easily. These past uses, however, rely on tapping a tag to perform an action. Wouldn’t it be useful for other use-cases if you could activate a task when removing a tag from your device? Just think; this could allow you to do things such as setting up an NFC-based alarm or both activating and removing settings changes when a tag is touched.
Thankfully, this is where XDA Forum Member madfish73 comes in. Similarly to the previously linked article, this functionality is accomplished using AnyTAG NFC. However, it is actually a modified version of AnyTAG that is used in this guide, and a few modifications are made to your device’s NFC.apk to add in the android.nfc.action.TAG_LOST intent and enable tag removal detection functionality.
As described by the guide author:
What this mod can do?
after did this mod, with AnyTag(mod) + tasker + secure settings plugin + secure settings helper, you can:
1. put your phone on the “Bedside tag”, your phone turn to silence mod, take the phone off the tag, your phone auto turn off silence mod
2. put your phone on the “CarDock tag”, your phone auto unlock, turn to CarHome mode, run some special apps, take the phone off the tag, your phone auto kill some special apps, exit carhome mode, lock screen …
3. Other things you can image….
If you wish to learn more, you can get started by simply heading over to the original thread.
Having a password, PIN, or combination lock on your device can be quite an inconvenience every time you want to unlock your phone, especially when you have one for the sake of guarding against snooping eyes. If this is the actual case for any of you Samsung Galaxy S3 users out there, you may be pleased to know that you can bypass this problem while maintaining the security with the help of NFC tags.
XDA Forum Member Monteillard has come up with a sneaky way of making this possible on your GS3 for rooted users with Tasker, WidgetLocker, and NFC Re-tag, all of which can be found on the Play store. Users must flash a specific mod that’s available for download, setup WidgetLocker with the ‘unlock’ function, create four profiles with specific settings laid by Monteillard, and then add your NFC tag with NFC Re-tag with a couple of required settings to get things started.
The advantage of this mod is that you’ll now be able to unlock your phone with NFC tags and bypass the security screen, while maintaining the security that you have with your password, PIN, or combination lock when others get their hands on your GS3. There’s no restrictions on which NFC tag will work, as generally anything with NFC, be it textiles, NFC stickers, cards, or tags, will be compatible. Owners of other devices may be able to get this working, as one such user with a Sony Xperia S has done so successfully. However, the fact that you must flash a GS3-specific mod through recovery may mean otherwise for most.
If this has gotten your attention and you would like to know more, check out the original post for more detailed instructions and information.
[Image source: Flickr]
With a more than a decade-old history, near field communication, better known as NFC, seems to have only just recently exploded onto the market, mass distributed with almost every new device since 2012 and onward. You now see ads marketing and exhibiting the ‘magic’ of this relatively old technology, exemplified with people merely touching their phones together to share photos, videos, documents and so on. But did you know that you aren’t limited to these specific use cases?
XDA Senior Member one5‘s surely knew, as a thread was created listing a plethora of items that can be scanned with your NFC-enabled device. These include credit cards, student IDs from various universities, passports of certain countries, public transport cards and tickets, rewards and member cards, as well as many other miscellaneous items, such as books from the ‘Les Champs Libres’ in France. Please be mindful however, that in many instances involving such listed items, particular apps or passwords are required, and some may even come up as unsupported or encrypted, depending on your locality and so forth.
Further discussion can be had in the thread regarding the introduction and implementation of NFC into the infrastructure of many countries and cities, and you may just pleasantly discover that your local train station or ATM is NFC enabled, giving you the perfect reason to whip out your phone and perform some ‘magic’ in front of onlookers and passersby.
So if this has gotten your attention, be sure to check out the original thread for more information.
Transferring photos, videos, and other files to another device can be a long and drawn out process, depending on how many files you try to move around. Now, thanks to the work from XDA Senior Member majedev, sharing multiple files is a lot quicker.
SuperBeam allows users to share any file stored on their device with another device using the application. The only requirement to fully utilize SuperBeam is a smartphone that runs Android 4.0 or later. If you happen to have a device that runs an older version of Android, the app will automatically fallback to the fail safe hotspot mode.
For those with phones that support it, SuperBeam uses WiFi Direct to send files across devices. Users can initiate a connection between devices through the use of QR Codes or NFC. Included in the SuperBeam app is the SuperBeam Scanner, which reads the QR Codes that appear on-screen once the files the user decides to share are chosen. Scan that code with the device you want to transfer the files to then your work is done. Another feature that SuperBeam boasts is the ability to use an existing WiFi network to connect and share files between devices.
This app is simple to use, convenient, and most importantly it works. Many (if not all) third-party file managers and photo galleries work with SuperBeam, so there should be no worry about not being able to access SuperBeam through your favorite file manager. For more information about this app, head on over to the original thread.
February 25, 2013 By: egzthunder1
Android 4.1 brought quite a few surprises, improvements, and extensions in functionality since it was introduced last year. Needless to say, many of the OS’s features require hardware elements, such as NFC and Beam functionality. The concept is simple and it works quite well. However, the implementation of this on Google’s AOSP as well as manufacturer’s variants is limited to a few things such as pictures or video. Having said that, there is more to life than just sharing visual media. What if you wanted to share a song, a document, or an APK? Sure, you can always try to send them via WiFi direct, e-mail, DropBox, and a myriad of other alternatives. However, again, the current implementation of the service is limited
Due to limitations being the fuel for innovation, XDA Forum Member MohammadAG thought about the possibility to use the NFC API to do a little more. In this particular case, he took upon the file type limitation and created a small add-on to enable Beam transfer from any app (so as long as the app has the ability to use the Share Intent). What it does is it adds a new option to transfer via Android Beam to the “Share” menu on most apps. The add-on is capable to transmitting the file to any other NFC-capable Android 4.1 device, and the dev also claims that this even works on the NFC-equipped Nokia N9. Having said that, the latter will only act as a receiver but it is more than plenty as you are not likely to try and send too many things from a Nokia N9 anyways.
Just remember that NFC is not magic or an instant faster-than-lightning data transfer service. NFC is just used to create the connection between the two devices in question, and Bluetooth really takes care of the transfer process itself. Please take this for a spin and leave any feedback you may have.
Ever wanted to send someone a document, a song, a video, or just about any type of file?
With File Beam, you can!
You can find more information in the original thread.