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NFCLauncher - The first NFC app for BlackBerry that lets you launch apps, tasks and more by scanning NFC tags

By Adam Zeis on 10 Oct 2011 12:31 pm EDT

So you have a brand new BlackBerry with NFC, but you aren't quite sure how to put it to good use? (If you aren't quite sure what NFC is, or if your device has it, you can check out our quick guide on NFC to get the scoop). Down the road we hope to get loads of "real life" functionality with NFC, but for now there isn't much out there. That is with the exception of NFCLauncher, the first BlackBerry app to take advantage of the new NFC capabilities in some BlackBerry 7 devices. NFCLauncher comes from Fonware (makes of ShortCutMe) and gives you the ability to easily launch tasks, apps or custom ShortCutMe macros. Some ideas for using NFCLauncher could be:

  • Touch a tag on the belt to lock BB (regardless of what app is in foreground).
  • Touch a tag on holster/belt to change the profile to Silent or Vibrate.
  • Touch a tag in the car to send an email to partner saying I am on the way home.
  • Touch a tag in the car to toggle (running/not running) app
  • Touch a tag in the car to turn on Bluetooth (for handsfree) and then Call partner.
    Touch a tag on the night stand to toggle bedside mode.
  • Touch a tag on gym locker to change ringer profile, BBM/WLM status, and open workout playlist in native music player.
  • Touch a tag on xbox360/PS3/computer desk to send a message to pre defined friends inviting them to sign in for some online gaming (Call Of Duty, Battlefield, NHL 12, etc)
  • Touch a tag as I'm leaving the office to launch the mobile timekeeping app to enter hours for the day.

All in all a pretty sweet app than can really simplify some tasks if you get creative. Granted, you will need to set yourself up with some NFC tags to get up and running. NFCLauncher is available for $2.99 in the BlackBerry App World.

More information/purchase NFCLauncher

Reader comments

NFCLauncher - The first NFC app for BlackBerry that lets you launch apps, tasks and more by scanning NFC tags


So does this mean I can get a few cards program them and leave on in my car, where I put my phone down and have it automatically set up my bluetooth and shut down my wifi?
then have a card that shuts down my bluetooth and turns on my wifi at the door of my home?

This one time set-up, if it can be done by the user, would allow me to save countless BT and WF on and off for repetitive tasts.

Can we set the cards now if we buy them?

NFCLauncher was meant to be on sale today for $2.99.
It was sold for $3.99 by mistake.

For those of you who bought it for $3.99 this morning. you can get $1 back if you have a paypal account and if you send email to nfcl at fonware dot ca

Telus and Bell in Canada supports NFC for free. However, the banks and mobile companies are still fighting behind close doors regrading tap-and-pay system for credit and debit cards.

Some users who bought their BB from a carrier with NFC-Disabled-Until-Carrier-Takes-A-Piece-From-Every-Transaction policy said that he upgraded his BB OS and NFC was then enabled.

Bought the app and ordered a set of 5 nfc tags from ebay(£5), I can't wait for them to arrive.

One will def be in my car, one by my front door and one by my bed, I'll see about the other two, I'll think of something :)

Don't mean to sound too dumb here, but just to clarify....if you buy a set of nfc tags, then you can program them with this app? Or is the app just a reader, that reads tags and then actions whatever is coded on them?

This seems a bit dumb and useless.... if people are really using Nfc for such a purpose that seems a bit lazy and unorthodox. I thought purpose was for business cards quickly adding contacts as well as implementing it into things such as foursquare,facebook, i don't know bank's....

Did you ever get in the car, started driving and then realized you forgot to turn bluetooth on? A quick tap to set the phone the way you need it in the car is much easier then going into settings.

This probably took over a month to develop. When was the last time you worked over a month for free?

It took 2 months to develop and it was 2 difficult months.
Because it was the first in its kind, and since BB OS APIs were not fully functional,it took lots of effort to get it to work.
As it was evolved, it required me to spend a lot of time to update ShortcutMe app and make it ready to run macros written in NFCLauncher.
It was clear after a week working on developing this app that without allowing users to fully define what to happen after a tap (using macros), the NFC experience would be badly limited to what NFC standards define for users.

Common sense has it that it took work. I'm not making the statement based on me getting it for free. There are apps that come for free that I would pay as much as ten dollars to have. I meant from a business stand point if there is a profit to be made off the tags then giving away the app would be the bait to get everybody in.

So if I worked several months on this for free and was looking to make a profit off the tags if you asked me if I would give the app away, yes I would. My advise is simply an opinion and last I checked we have the right to share them.

A valid point.
But I don't sell NFC tags. I don't have the capacity to support the infrastructure needed for selling tags.

Great work on the app, however I think its questionable that this app wasn't submitted to App World for approval. I would be extremely weary of downloading it from an unofficial source/vendor.

Good think RIM announced "BlackBerry Tags". I'm sure APIs for programming tags that interface with device will become effortless.

If you have a BB7 9900/9930, you can write to your own NFC tags using "Smart Tags" app, which comes pre-installed on your device.

Smart tags app on BBs can write to a tag, but every time you tap the tag it asks you two questions (that you should confirm) before it takes you to a web page for example.

The nice thing about NFCLauncher is that you program the app and not the tag. That means again, as soon as you tap a tag (for a web page for example) less than a second later it takes you to the web page.

Besides, it has many inbuilt functions like 'NFCL_BedsideMode_Toggle', 'NFCL_Message_Compose', 'NFCL_Toggle_Wifi_Bt_Radio', etc, that will do things no smart poster allow you to do today.

And of course, in addition, it allows you to launch your own macros in ShortcutMe:
Tap a tag, and your own macros are running doing things YOU want to happen after a tap (and not what smart poster standards limits you to do).

Vijik wrote: "But every time you tap the tag it asks you two questions (that you should confirm) before it takes you to a web page for example."

The confirmation message on the Smart Tags app is meant as a security feature. I don't just want my BB to start doing things without my permission. What if I scan an tag that was programmed to take me to a malicious program, web page? With the confirmation, I can prevent the redirect.

Don't get me wrong. RIM has done (and continues to do) a great job when it comes to preserving their customers security and privacy rights.
But the problem with smart poster standard is that the info about what to launch is on the tag. If someone change it and you tap it, it can take you to a page you didn't want to go to. That is why RIM and Google have the have the pop up questions.

With NFCLauncher, the info about what to launch and what macro of yours to be run, is on your BlackBerry (NFCLauncher) and not on the tag. So, if you can trust your self, you can also trust the tag you have added to NFCLauncher.

NFCLauncher will be secure and in the same time both convenient and flexible (macros that can run on ShortcutMe).

ok so wait, before i order these tags off these sites, which one is compatible with the 9900? (type 2, mifare etc, and some of them only have a certain amount of memory?

and i see something about shortcutme is needed for some macros? is there a bundle to buy with the both of them together?

The cheapest Mifare Ultralight (with lowest memory size)you can get should work with this.
There is a company in US which offers free shipping to US.

I don't think that App World offers bundled purchase. I would definitly provide that if I could.

One question, and probably the most important:

Can we get more footage of the girl who is locking her BB by tapping a card on her belt, please.

Good that you at least saw the Blackberry!
Just kidding.

I don't know who she is. The movie is made by an alpha tester.

I own shortcut me... A fairly expensive app. So will this be integrated or if I want to try this out, but yet another similiar but different app?

Posted by Vijik "Smart tags app on BBs can write to a tag, but every time you tap the tag it asks you two questions (that you should confirm) before it takes you to a web page for example.
The nice thing about NFCLauncher is that you program the app and not the tag. That means again, as soon as you tap a tag (for a web page for example) less than a second later it takes you to the web page."

So how do you program the tag if you dont use Smart tags app on BBs?

Am I correct that you both need the NFCLauncher, but also the Macro app that the same company makes??
I LOVE this idea, but if you add up all the costs with NFC stickers, and the two apps that this requires, it makes me wonder how much it is worth it. Specially if RIM makes a native app for activities like this.