Having gotten our hands on several NFC-enabled BlackBerrys and seen what the possibilities of NFC are, we thought we’d prepare a guide in anticipation of BlackBerry users making their own NFC tags. With the BlackBerry Smart Tags app, users can not only read tags, but they can create them too. This is just one aspect of NFC that will be awesome on BlackBerry. The tutorial and more about NFC after the jump.
The current version of Smart Tags lets you create simple tags.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure you have the BlackBerry Smart Tags app. The app should be pre-loaded on your BlackBerry 7 device, and if not it will surely be available through App World.
You’re also going to want to buy a roll of NFC stickers. Tagstand offers NFC stickers for around $1 per sticker. Depending on how many stickers you’ll need and the discount you want, you can pick the appropriate package. Remember, NFC stickers can be reused or locked and not reprogrammable.
Depending on the tag you buy, you can store various amounts of data. When purchasing an NFC sticker, be sure to pick up the Mifare Ultralight type. It stores 48 bytes of usable user data, and are great for contact information and URLs. They’re also NFC Forum Type 2 compliant, meaning that they’ll work on any current and foreseeable NFC device.
Open the BlackBerry Smart Tags app and select Menu > Create Tag. Then input the data you want to attach to the tag. At the time of writing this, you can only put URLs but hopefully RIM will soon update with the ability to add contact information and phone numbers. There are a ton of ways this could be helpful. For example, putting your contact info in NFC form on your business card would be helpful.
Once you’ve created the tag, select Menu > Write to Tag. The app will then ask you to tap the phone to the sticker and you’ll write the tag. Now, the tag will be ready to display whatever you put in the tag each time it’s tapped.
NFC is going to be great for the BlackBerry platform. Friends will be able to transfer media by simply tapping the devices together. Pairing Bluetooth devices will be a simple matter of tapping them together. Developers will also find innovative ways of leveraging the NFC APIs to create apps that transfer data and connect devices simply by tapping them. Stay tuned as this industry grows and RIM rolls out more features around NFC.