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27 May 2013
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Samsung Galaxy S4 - Find Compatible NFC Tags, Samsung TecTile

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is compatible with all Ultralight and NTAG203 NFC chips. These NFC chips can be found in the majority of NFC tags and products such as Printed NFC Stickers, NFC Hangs Tags and NFC Starter Packs.
Samsung TecTile and Samsung TecTile 2
The original Samsung TecTile used a 1K Mifare NFC chip that is not compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S4 but is compatible with previous smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3. Samsung have therefore created an updated TecTile using a universally compatible NFC chip, the Samsung TecTile 2.
Why are some NFC chips universally compatible and some not ?

Standards to ensure universal compatibility between NFC chips and NFC enabled phones are set by the NFC Forum, a worldwide body that includes representation from major manufactures such as Google, Samsung, Sony and Nokia. Nearly all modern NFC chips are designed to meet these standards however some older NFC chips, such as the Mifare 1K, do not.

There are three major manufactures of NFC hardware used within mobile phones, NXP, Broadcom and Inside Secure. Until recently NXP has controlled most of the market including the Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3 and unsurprisingly has supported its own NFC chips, such as the Mifare 1K, whether they conform to NFC Forum Standards or not. Alternatively Broadcom and Inside Secure have only supported NFC Forum compliant NFC chips.

Broadcom NFC hardware can now be found in an increasingly large number of NFC enabled mobile phones such as the Galaxy S4 and Nexus 4. Inside Secure hardware is in all Blackberry devices.

NFC Chip
NFC Forum Compliant
Galaxy S4 Compatible
Ultralight
Yes
Yes
Ultralight C
Yes
Yes
NTAG203
Yes
Yes
Mifare 1K
No
No
Why is the first Samsung TecTile not compatible with the Galaxy S4 ?
Samsung created the first TecTile with the non NFC Forum compliant 1K Mifare NFC chip and therefore it is only supported by phones that include NXP hardware. As the Samsung Galaxy S4 now includes Broadcom hardware the tags are no longer compatible. Why they did this ? Who knows, but it was a very strange decision to make !
Can I use NFC tags other than the TecTile with Samsung Smartphones ?
Yes. The Samsung TecTile is designed for use specifically with the TecTile app however there are a large range of alternative apps such as NFC Task Launcher and TagWriter for Android, NFC Interactor for Windows Phone 8 and Smart Tags for Blackberry.