Many things don't work well together: oil and water, drinking and driving, and as it turns out, Samsung's TecTiles and the Galaxy S4. Samsung is acknowledging that the current line of NFC tags cannot be read by its new flagship phone. In fact, even the official TecTile site's Buy Now link is now defunct.

The SGS4 incorporates a Broadcom BCM2079x chip which lacks support for some types of MIFARE tags from NXP Semiconductors, including TecTiles which are built with MIFARE Classic chips. Samsung is planning to launch TecTiles 2 to replace the older stickers. Here is their official statement given to Android Police:

Samsung is introducing TecTile 2, an update to the original TecTile NFC programmable tags, which will be available in the coming weeks. TecTile 2 will use the current NFC technology on the market, allowing Samsung customers to further incorporate NFC into their daily lives and to use with the latest Samsung Mobile products and services, including the Galaxy S 4.

As industry standards continue to evolve, Samsung remains committed to meeting those standards and adapting its technologies if necessary.  Samsung customers can also fully utilize TecTiles 2 with existing Samsung Mobile NFC-enabled Android smartphones currently in market.

Until recently, most NFC-equipped phones were built with the NXP PN544; that is, until Google replaced it in the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 with Broadcom's competing chipset. This switch came at the same time as the introduction of Broadcom's Bluetooth and NFC stacks into AOSP. The NFC Forum has never officially recognized MIFARE Classic tags as a standard because they use a proprietary authentication and encryption format.

No technical details have been shared about TecTile 2 yet, but the new tags are likely to be NFC Forum Type 4, based on rumors that some may have already gone out to customers packaged as the original TecTiles. The new stickers should be compatible with virtually all NFC-equipped devices on the market, for both NXP and Broadcom chipsets. Specific release dates haven't been given, but we will keep you posted.

The issue was first noticed by Brian Klug from Anandtech

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • HellG

    Let me see,Non-Standard Android Beam (S beam), Non-Standard Photosphere (whatever they will call that), Non-standard MHL port, S4 looks the same like the S3, an "Updated" version with better build quality and dust proof is rumored just so more people throw money at samsung, I really Don't like where samsung is going, They could have used another chip but they want you to buy their 'UPDATED' version that is...So much better in many ways you don't know that you wont even know what is better, I said it before and i will say it again...I feel samsung is becoming the next apple and will go for tizen and against android, If samsung drops android, I'm dropping samsung....
    Samsung it's not your gimmicky and gingerbridish Touchwiz, or your horrible build quality that is keeping me with you, It's your removable battery and SD slot, and with LG offering these too i think it's time for you to stop being full of yourself....

    • ProductFRED

      S-Beam is an add-on to Android Beam, not a replacement. It has its own toggle that can be turned off in order to use standard Android Beam. It uses NFC to pair two devices and WiFi Direct to quickly and efficiently send over large files (e.g. a 5 MB MP3 in less than 3 seconds). While I agree with your argument, Google doesn't implement this in AOSP, despite the fact that it's a brilliant and common sense solution.

      But I pretty much agree with the rest, except for build quality (plastic doesn't dent like aluminum and doesn't shatter like glass), and for LG being better. Sure they're improving, but they still abandon their devices like 5 minutes after they're released.

      • andy_o

        If you want S-beam-like NFC-triggered transfer, try Superbeam. In some ways it might just be better. It can also work with devices without NFC, with the camera and a QR code, and even without WiFi Direct, by creating a WiFi hotspot automatically.

    • mgamerz

      >LG Offers it
      >Like you'd buy an LG knowing the support it will get

      • ProductFRED

        "What G2X? What 4XHD?"

        I mean, the damn Optimus G is already End-Of-Life on Sprint!

        • Arvind Velusamy

          That was a bug in the system. I think they confirmed it on xda

    • http://www.facebook.com/paruhang.chamling Paruhang Chamling

      Are you kidding me? Tizen is more "open" than Android can ever be.

    • http://twitter.com/jokesyn8 Jokesy

      Isn't photosphere for Nexus devices only?

      • Aymen Fadhel

        Samsung is said to be working on their own version of stratosphere (rumored name is samsung orb)

  • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

    More proprietary Samsung garbage. Absolutely brilliant of Apple to not support NFC, I hope they kill it like they did Flash.

    • ProductFRED

      Proprietary? They're switching to a chip that conforms to NFC standards... How does Apple have anything to do with this? And Flash was replaced with HTML5, not because of Crapple, but because it's more resource efficient and doesn't require any plugins...

    • http://www.facebook.com/paruhang.chamling Paruhang Chamling

      Samsung moved to new NFC because this is the one that actually confirms to the open standards and Apple doesn't bother with NFC specifically because it's an open standard.

    • Jahf

      NFC is a standard and open. Samsung goofed in their original implementation but killing NFC just because you're jealous that your current iPhone can't do it would be silly.

      • Jahf

        PS. Any Apple-head who makes fun of other phones because -they- are proprietary is just asking for ridicule. 30pin/Thunderbolt/Lightning let me introduce you to a little standard called USB.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          Actually, Thunderbolt is Intel's thing, Apple just markets it (and had a little to do with the original design). It wouldn't be hard to imagine the technology ending up in PCs. USB 3.0 is good, and it is a needed port, but it really isn't designed for the things that Thunderbolt is good for.

          I, and the EU, are with you on the 30-pin and Lighting connectors.

  • andy_o

    I'm coming up with a new internet law.The popularity growth of a blog is inversely proportional to the percentage of the people who actually read past the headline.

    This is the exact same move that the Nexus 4 made. It is not more closed, it's conforming with the NFC forum, which the older tags weren't, but were used because they were cheaper.

    Another thing, if you're using the tags for triggering actions on your phone (like NFC Task Launcher) probably you won't have trouble, as it can still detect the tag's ID and work with it. What it can't do is read or write its own information to those tags.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Thank you!

      This is just a growing pain for NFC. The old and proprietary stuff is getting nudged out (perhaps a bit earlier than people would like) and the newer, more open standards are being rolled in. This isn't even an anti-NXP thing, as the company produces plenty of standards-compliant tags. It's just a shame this shift didn't happen a year earlier with the Galaxy Nexus and S3.

      • andy_o

        Yeah, sooner would have definitely been better. Even so, last year I knowingly purchased those cheap Mifare tags which clearly said "INCOMPATIBLE WITH NEXUS 4 AND 10" on the eBay page, cause I read somewhere about them working OK for triggering actions, and indeed they do. I'm thinking many people won't even realize they "don't work" if they only use them for that purpose, which seems to be most people. In fact, when I was asking around at XDA I got people giving me conflicting information, saying that they did work, but when pressed further they realized it was only for that purpose.

  • Dan

    With a jackass headline like that, no wonder people are confused. The S4, like pretty much every other phone, is switching to an open standard and yet you've managed to make it sound nefarious. Great job educating your reader.