Tagstand Relaunches NFC Task Launcher App, Makes NFC Way Less Geeky

YC-backed Tagstand, a company intent on helping make NFC more of a mainstream technology, is rebooting its Android app, NFC Task Launcher with a whole new feature set and user interface. The app was already one of the top NFC-based utilities in the Android Market Google Play store before coming under Tagstand’s control recently, when the app’s creator joined the team.

The company also says it saw a big uptick in demand for NFC tags when Google released the Galaxy Nexus, and it’s now selling as many tags in a day as it did during the entire month of June, when the service first launched.

Tagstand, you may remember, raised a $1.1 million funding round back in October which included many notable angels. The full list at the time: Yuri Milner, SV Angel, Naval Ravikant, Paul Buchheit, Yael Shazeer, Christina Brodbeck, Anand Agarawala, Mike Berolzheimer, Bee Partners, Quotidian Ventures, TEEC (Chinese angel network), Vaizra Investments (Israeli fund), Dean Smith, Christopher Morton, and Anand Swaminathan.

The company says that it’s since added new investors to its round, including YC partners Harjeet Taggar, Garry Tan, and Alexis Ohanian, and Kavin Bharti Mittal of Bharti Telecom in India.

At the time of the funding, Tagstand was focused mainly on offering tools and other special NFC-equipped stickers to individuals, companies and brands. But since then, the creator of the Android app NFC Task Launcher, Joshua Krohn, joined the team, bringing his experience on mobile with him.

Before the app, users would first visit Tagstand’s website to purchase NFC starter kits, tags or stickers. The NFC tags can be configured using a web-based control panel or, now, the Task Launcher app itself. For Android users familiar with the popular Automator application, NFC Task Launcher is very similar except that the tasks it automates are kicked off by scanning an NFC tag, rather than some other sort of pre-programmed event.

For example, Tagstand co-founder Kulveer Taggar tells me that he has a tag on his keychain that’s configured so that, when he enters a coffee shop where he wants to work, he simply taps that tag with his phone, and his laptop is instantly tethered to his phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot. When finished working, he taps it again to switch the hotspot off.

Meanwhile, co-founder Omar Seyal likes to use the app when cooking – he set timers for 10, 20 and 30 minutes, which he begins by tapping the phone to an NFC tag.

You could also use NFC Task Launcher to switch between “office” and “home” settings on your phone, turn on or off your ringer or alarm, instantly check-in on Foursquare, send tweets and about a million other things, many of which are detailed here on the app’s description page in the Android Market Google Play store.

With the recent relaunch of the app (version 3), the user interface has gotten a big overhaul to be more user-friendly and the app itself has seen a number of improvements. It now offers better saved task management, improved Switch creation, improved dialogs for writing tags (both for success and for errors), and it has added support for newer tag types. There’s also a new pack of tags designed especially for fans of the Android app.

If you remember what the app looked like before, this is great update. As for making NFC more mainstream, that may prove to be more of a challenge. NFC, while a promising technology, faces a number of adoption hurdles ranging from OEM adoption to business partnerships that encourage use (as in the case of mobile payments). And, of course, there’s always what Apple ends up doing – still a big unknown. But for those Android users already ahead of the curve, or who just like doing cool stuff with their phones, the NFC Task Launcher app is a good one to try.