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Sony's SmartTags could change phone habits

Are you tired of fiddling with phone settings before you go to bed? Check out Sony's programmable NFC tokens that automate the mundane phone tasks many of us do every day.

Consumers will have the option to buy Sony's SmartTag in red, white, blue, or black flavors.
Photo by Christopher MacManus/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Near field communication (NFC) technology enables smartphones to work with mobile payments and public transit systems, but a new accessory from Sony could make the wireless wonder much more personal.

SmartTags are small programmable tokens that give your NFC-equipped Android phone a series of commands to keep you from performing repetitive tasks.

For example, swiping your phone by a SmartTag placed on a nightstand could turn your phone silent, turn off Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, and activate your alarm for the following morning. While the aforementioned tasks are easy to do on your own, perhaps there is a certain charm in an automatic trigger.

Would your life be easier if you could merely swipe your phone when you enter the house to turn on Wi-Fi, turn off GPS, and automatically launch an app of your choosing? The whole experience seems like a gimmick that a showboating nerd like myself would use to impress friends.

Representatives at Sony said during CES that consumers should expect a second-quarter release and a price point "around $30" for a set of four tokens, which will work with any NFC-equipped smartphone. Those interested in programmable NFC tokens should check out the NFC Task Launcher website, which is offers information on how to make these on your own for much less money.