Feature Articles

NFC and SmartTag Demo with Sony Xperia S

By Wong Casandra - 14 Feb 2012

SmartTag Demo with Sony Xperia S

Sony Xperia S: Connecting Your World

Before we even got the chance to have a hands-on experience on the Sony Xperia S, news surrounding the company's first dual-core smartphone were all over the Internet. This step to beef up its mobile portfolio is imperative for the company, given the acquisition and merger of the Sony Ericsson joint venture as a subsidiary of the Japanese company Sony. The flagship Xperia S stands as an important milestone because it is the first smartphone device to be released after its re-branding as Sony Mobile Communications.

We first took a quick look at the Sony Xperia S during the recently concluded CES show, touching upon the phone's prominent aesthetics which included its matte chassis and unique indicator for touch controls. Back in Singapore, the Sony team followed up with a comprehensive demonstration on the phone's various connectivity options, focusing on the device's DLNA and NFC connectivity features.

 Sony Xperia S

  Key highlights of the Sony Xperia S

  • Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
    upgradeable to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 4.3-inch HD Display / 1280 x 720 pixels
  • 12-megapixel rear camera / Autofocus / f2/4 / LED flash
    + 1.3-megapixel front facing camera
  • 32 GB
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • 1750mAh battery
  • 144g
  • 128 x 64 x 10.6mm
  • Price and Availability: TBA (Mid- to end-March 2012)

Connecting Your World

The Sony Xperia S comes with two Xperia SmartTags out-of-the-box. So what are they exactly? A SmartTag is roughly the shape and size of a round token and it works with any NFC-enabled smartphone, including the Xperia S. Swiping the phone on the tag will launch a pre-configured profile, such as switching on a media player or Bluetooth connectivity. In essence, the SmartTags and its corresponding software will allow users to profile their usage patterns, very much like a profile management app. The difference is of course, in its reliance on NFC technology.

Xperia SmartTags are available in four colors. If the bundled tags are insufficient, more can be bought by customers in Sony's after sales programme. However, details have not been unveiled yet.

Sony representatives have mentioned that the company, starting with the Xperia S, is looking to pave the way for the usage of NFC technology on a consumer level, part of an intensive strategy to ease users into using it on a day-to-day basis. With the announcement that Singapore will be future-proofed with NFC connectivity at more than 20,000 retail points and even on taxis from mid 2012 onwards, this is an instrumental and timely step for Sony. Also take into consideration Nokia's implementation of Singapore NFC Hub, a site that allows businesses to order NFC tags and posters for commercial purposes in October last year. NFC technology is certainly picking up its pace with upcoming NFC-enabled devices and infrastructure.  

In this section, we take a quick look at how the SmartTags work on the Xperia S. But first up, some videos to help relate the usage better:-


To configure your SmartTag actions, click on the LiveWare Manager app (left), and then on SmartTags...


...and you'll find four distinct SmartTag colors. Like a profile management app, the Xperia S' software allows users to delete pre-existing actions or add new ones. There's a good list of actions to choose from. For example, you can place a SmartTag by your bedside and configure it to play music or start up your alarm clock. Simply swipe on it to run the pre-defined set of action(s).

In essence, the combination of NFC and Xperia SmartTags allow you to do more, swiftly, and effortlessly. If you can analyze your general usage and find ways to profile a group of actions, those profiles are very likely candidates to benefit from NFC technology and SmartTags. To be honest, it's not going to save you a lot of time, but it can make your phone usage more effortless - all you need to do is tap.


DLNA Your Media

DLNA technology has been around for quite some time now and isn't anything new. Of course, Sony tries to shake things up a little with the Xperia S. As such, the smartphone comes with enhanced software that allows users to easily share their content via DLNA technology once the relevant devices have been set up. This comes in a form of an easy click button in its gallery and media player apps. The software upgrade will come to the high-end Xperia smartphones such as the Xperia Arc/Arc S but details on this are still hazy. 

Once your devices are paired up and connected, you can simply tap on the icon at the upper right hand corner to share your pictures or videos to any of the devices.

One touch sharing makes it easier and faster for users to share their media.

This one touch sharing via DLNA is replicated in the media player app as well.

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