The SmartTags are little unpowered, battery-less chips about the size of a US quarter (approx. 28mm diameter, 3.25mm thick). At $19.99 for a pack of 4 different colors(black, white, blue, and red), these small disks are cheap, convenient add-ons to your Android phone. Based on Sony’s phone compatibility list , the SmartTags work with most of Sony’s Xperia phones with NFC baked-in – such as the Xperia S, Xperia P, and Xperia sola. However, I’ve found out that the SmartTags in fact work with ANY NFC-enabled Android phone like the popular Samsung Galaxy S III – although this is not officially supported by either Sony or other phone makers. Below is an introductory video from Sony demonstrating how one can use these chips and incorporate them into day-to-day activities.
The approximate weight of each SmartTag is 2.2 g (0.07 oz); and in my eyes it looks slightly more appealing than a good o’ quarter. You can leave these tags in places you frequently find yourself turning on or off certain functions on your phone. One such location is your car, where you would normally turn on and set up navigation as soon as you enter the car – or disable text messaging (please don’t text while driving, I beg you). Each SmartTag can be set up to do a different task, or a combination of several tasks at the same time – like turning on music and launching browser to view my awesome website (shameless plug). If you want more than 4 chips, you can certainly buy more – or better yet share with your family, friends, or coworkers.
Now that you’re interested in these curious-looking buttons, you may be wondering how they work in practice. In my next post, I will dig further into how I used SmartTags to supplement my training. So be sure to stay tuned and check back soon.
Would you incorporate something like this into your running? What pieces of technology do you use to help maximize your running? Do you feel technology helps runners or provides too much information? Do you use it or leave it?
(Kevin Lu is an engineer, currently working in the field of orthopedic devices. He received his B.S. and M.S. in biomedical engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Science, technology, and running are Kevin’s passions. In his spare time, Kevin trains for and participates in races of various distances. His recent personal records include 20:58/5K and 5:48:22/50K. Follow him on Twitter (@ SweatEngine ) and check out his blog Beyond Distance .)