Rating: Except it didn’t work too well, whoops
Our trusty Motorola RAZR i (XT890) – the version with an Intel chip inside, recently announced that there was a OS (Android) upgrade available. We took advantage of this event and then decided to see if we could work out what 81.5.39001 offered us that the previous version didn’t. BTW, it doesn’t take this RAZR to version 4.1 (jelly Bean). You’re own your own with regards to new facilities because we could find no fancy new services that the upgrade had provided. But – by mistake, we suddenly noticed that support for NFC (Near Field Communication) had been present all the time. Naturally,we rushed to try this new feature out. Sadly, we didn’t get very far.
For those who aren’t familiar with NFC, it’s a bit of a mixture between Bluetooth and QR codes.
The idea is that you touch your handset against a compatible device or chip and something happens.
So you don’t need to fire up your code reading software – as with QR codes.
Nor do you need to turn the facility on and declare that your smartphone is ‘visible’ as happens with Bluetooth.
Instead, you only need to hold your handset close to an NFC enabled device (or poster) and you should receive the content.
That’s the theory but in practice it didn’t work to well for us.
Previously we had spotted a promotional poster in the Boys room at the Slug & Lettuce pub at Clapham Junction.
Built into this poster was an NFC chip. However, we we touched our RAZR I against the poster it didn’t perform as intended.
We assume that it was supposed to take us to a particular promotional page but what it did instead was take us to the last page we had loaded onto our web browser.
Luckily, the same promotional poster for Becks Vier beer also had a QR code on it and thanks to Neomedia’s Neoreader appwe were able to navigate to the appropriate Becks Vier web page.
In a nutshell this is proving to us that handset manufacturers really don’t quite know how to implement NFC yet.
For example, the standard Android OS supports a facility called Android Beam. Just you try to find out how to make this work.
To run NFC on you first have to go to the ‘Settings’ menu and then select ‘More’. We’d never done this before but we were looking for improvements this time.
Imagine our surprise, therefore when we found an option for turning NFC on, along with a facility called Android Beam.
We can’t tell you if Beam works because we need another NFC capable Android handset.
The standard help files talk about selecting content to transmit via NFC but you don’t select Share as with Bluetooth, for example.
The real help files for NFC are in the most obscure place. Open Settings and scroll down to ‘About phone’.
Then go to ‘Legal Information’ and select ‘NFC Terms of Service’. Help files then appear.
To use Beam, go to Settings,then More and tick the NFC box. You also need to ensure the Android Beam option is turned on, although this seems to be turned on by default when you tick the NFC box.
You should then see an icon of a phone emitting radio at the top of the screen.
Now, basically you put your two Android handsets back to back. You should hear a little beep and the handsets should vibrate. And the message Touch to Beam should appear on the screen.
Now touch the content on one of the two handsets which you want to exchange. It should work.
If any readers out there with a RAZR want to try it, go to the People app. Right at the top should be the information which you have provided about yourself under the heading ‘ME’.
We’ve used that facility to create a business card. We assume that if you touch that entry it should transfer by Android Beam.
Let us know if it works for you!