nfc

I've recently taken a deeper step into the connected world. A step that some will describe as being interesting, and that some will describe as being crazy. To be honest, as happy as I am since I have taken this step, I have to admit that I fall on both the interesting and crazy sides myself. Before getting any further, I should mention that the "step" I took was implanting an NFC chip in my hand.

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When I bought my first desktop in college, I had a fancy 2.1 speaker system along with. I was the cool guy around, and lugged around those to college parties and family get togethers.

I haven’t used those in a couple of years now though. There are some fine Bluetooth speakers in the market and while they can’t obviously replace a high quality speaker setup with a subwoofer or something, the portability and connectivity options are a great advantage. The latest range of Bluetooth speakers are also NFC-enabled that allow pairing your smartphone with just a tap.

We are familiar with Nokia's JBL Power-up NFC speakers but let’s have a look at three popular NFC-enabled Bluetooth speakers that I’ve been using extensively at home for a while and carry on my travels as well.

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NFC Toolkit updated with extra profiles and more

We first took a look at NFC Toolkit in early November. The app allows users to take control of the NFC abilities on their Windows Phone. While NFC support on Windows Phone is currently limited compared to the options available on Android, NFC Toolkit does the best it can to help users maximize the potential. The app has seen two updates since we last covered it, let’s take a look at what’s new with the app.

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The team behind the NFC Ring, a piece of wearable technology with support for NFC, have released the official Windows Phone app. If you're not familiar with the product, think of it as a ring, but with NFC capabilities. Starting as a Kickstarter project, we became rather excited about the possibilities this technology could unlock with Windows Phone.

Should you be looking to pick up a NFC Ring for yourself or friends, you'll definitely want to check out the official app. Head on past the break for all the details.

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NFC is an area that so far Windows Phone and Android are beating Apple at. In fact, the iPhone doesn’t even support NFC. While some NFC features are still limited on Windows Phone, it’s a nice feature to have in a variety of scenarios. Automatically pairing your phone to your speaker is one example that’s always demonstrated, but NFC can do so much more. Here’s an NFC app for Windows Phone that’s pretty unique. It’s called NFC Toolkit and we’re going to check it out.

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What is the worst part of departing on your overseas flight? Bag drop-off, of course. Dropping your bags off in one country and hoping they will be with you when you arrive elsewhere can be a real nightmare. Luckily, British Airways and Microsoft have partnered up to create a new Digital Bag Technology.

You can even see it in action in the creepy demo video below.

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Nokia's Bluetooth headphone setup, currently codenamed 'Guru,' looks like it might be released under the official name BH-121, according to FCC documents showing a device similar to a previously leaked rendering. Additionally, at least one retailer in the Czech Republic is already listing the BH-121 on their sites with an availability date of December 16 and a retail price of 1050 CZK (about $54.00).

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Nokia is looking to pump out new hardware next week at its Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi. As well as expected tablets and smartphones, the company is also working on accessories and other technologies. Now a tweet published by the rather accurate @evleaks Twitter account suggests Nokia is working on an iPod Shuffle-like, portable music player.

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This is just a short PSA to relay news from the Pepper development team. An update for the popular live music Windows Phone app is on its way to address an NFC bug that can prevent the app from successfully starting when loaded on hardware with no NFC support (Nokia Lumia 520, etc). The fix has been submitted and should go live shortly. 

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Nokia is expected to unveil quite a few new devices next month in UAE for what may be their final Nokia World. Whether it is the Lumia 1520 or their tablet, the rumored Lumia 2520, Nokia is sure to have a great show.

One of those items due for release will be the Bluetooth charm called ‘Treasure Tag’. The item will reportedly work with Bluetooth 4.0 LE devices and allow users to track things like keys, bags or whatever it is attached too. NFC will be on board too for quick and easy pairing. As the Verge reported earlier this summer, the device will have a button on it to ID phones that it is attached to and its battery should last 6 months while always being on.

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CloudZync (www.zync.co.uk) is a British mobile commerce company that has launched an app for Windows Phone. With 280 merchants and stores already signed up, Zync Wallet makes it so you don't need to carry along a wallet in your pocket with numerous cards and cash at hand. Relying on your mobile phone for almost everything in life, mobile payments are slowly catching on with deployment taking place using NFC capabilities.

This Windows Phone app aims to help consumers take steps to make it easier to pay for services and goods with loyalty cards and more.

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Can we get a drum roll? Samsung has released a new app for Windows Phone. ATIV Beam. Sounds cool, right? It certainly is. We're looking at an NFC app to make it easy to transfer files from the ATIV Windows Phone to... wait, Android? You'd immediately assume that this is just a small error on Samsung's part and the app will work with Windows Phones that sport NFC too, right? Wrong, this is an exclusive app for those who wish to transfer files to Android devices.

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At first glance WakeUp Alarm for Windows Phone 8 looks like your average alarm app. You can create up to five active alarms that can repeat daily or once a week.

What sets WakeUp Alarm apart from other alarm apps is the use of NFC and QR codes to disable the alarm. You can create a situation where you physically have to get out of bed to silence the alarm.

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Nokia has bumped the NFC Writer app for Lumia Windows Phones to version 1.0.0.57. The first change we've noticed is the product link for grabbing more tags off Amazon now works in the UK (we've noticed the app crashed when selecting the link). That said, there have been reports that the app is continuing to cause problems for consumers with crash reports coming in regarding the purchase link. Looks like Nokia has to have a deeper look.

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Nokia is continuing to push NFC and remains the driving force at WIMA (www.wima.mc), the foremost NFC conference. The event took place in Monaco this week and the manufacturer has been showing off its product portfolio, NFC-enabled hardware and the overall ecosystem. As well as showing off its stuff, the company has also held an NFC developer workshop.

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NearSpeak is an interesting Near Field Communication (NFC) app for your Windows Phone 8 device that lets you record voice messages and store them on NFC tags.

There are a couple of neat aspects to NearSpeak. First, NFC tags typically lack the storage space to hold audio files. To record your voice, NearSpeak uses speech recognition to convert your spoken word into text. When played back, the text on the NFC tag is converted back to audio through NearSpeak's speech files.

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If you use Nokia Music and are looking for a quick way to access your song mixes, take a gander at Mix NFC Tag Writer for your Windows Phone 8 device.

Mix NFC Tag Writer will let you generate and write links to your favorite Nokia Music Mixes to NFC tags. To tune into the mixes, just scan the NFC tag.  Mix NFC Tag Writer may not be an official Nokia app but it can come in handy when you want to access your favorite Nokia Music mixes with ease.

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We’re still trying to get to bed here in Barcelona, but that hasn’t stopped Nokia from releasing new apps to their Collection.

The latest is NFC Writer, which is exactly what it sounds like: a clever app to write to blank NFC tags specific functions or tasks. We’ve seen similar apps before, like the excellent NFC Launchit, but for some Nokia users they may prefer the more streamlined design of NFC Writer.

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