The Chubby vWand Stylus Can Bring NFC Support To Non-NFC Smartphones And Tablets

NFC has always struck me as one of those things that everyone says is going to get really big next year, and the growing number of smartphones and tablets that come bearing support for the standard is proof that at least a few people care about it. But what if you want to experience the NFC lifestyle but your gadget(s) of choice don’t play nice with it? Enter Spain-based Sistel Networks, and its vWand stylus.

Put very simply, the vWand is part capacitive stylus, part Bluetooth-friendly NFC adapter — once it’s linked up to your tablet or smartphone of choice via Bluetooth you’ll have a pen that’s capable of reading from and writing data to NFC elements.

The vWand is a chubby little thing, but it’s not overly heavy thanks to its lightweight, plasticky (but comfortable) body. A pair of LEDs ride high on the vWand’s shaft to let the user know when it’s on and ready to scan, and a more-than-adequate chunky capacitive nib (not entirely unlike the end of Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus) allowed me to doodle to my heart’s content in Paper for a few moments. The real magic happens on the other end though — tapping the vWand’s butt to a set of preset NFC tags at the vWand booth prompted the connected Android tablet to fire up the messaging app, bring up the dialer, or load particular web pages.

As neat as the vWand concept sounds, chances are you won’t be linking this up to your iPad or Galaxy Note anytime soon. At this stage it’s meant mostly as a b2b device, and Sistel Networks is looking to pick up traction in a slew of fields ranging from healthcare (think doctors scanning NFC-enabled wristbands or something) to retail and logistics though company representatives didn’t completely rule out the notion that consumers would one day be able to buy one too. In fairness, the vWand certainly makes sense as a tool to be used in those lines of business, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting one just to muck around with.