Sometimes one thing leads to another, and that also goes for writing tech posts. After finishing up the article on using NFC with Tasker I started thinking up more and more uses for such a setup, and got more and more annoyed that I have a phone without NFC capability. The Moneto came to mind, but it's for payment only, would cost me 31GB of microSD storage, isn't technically available for my phone – basically "just won't work".
Another thought that struck me was that for a lot of the things I'd want to use this type of NFC interaction for, having to pick up the phone is half the work. If I do something in the kitchen, my phone is rarely even on me, so by the time I've gone to get it I wouldn't save much time by having it set the timer via NFC.
That's when the idea struck me: what if the Pebble smartwatch had NFC? It's already paired with Android phones over Bluetooth and a background app on the phone, has its own battery, and is always on the user's hand. Make it read NFC tags and transmit the data to the phone, and you not only have an aftermarket NFC kit for devices that don't have NFC, you also have an NFC reader that is more conventiently placed. Win/win if you ask me.
Now when I say win/win, I say that from a consumer point of view. Even without having the proper qualifications to state outright if this is a viable solution, I can come up with several potention issues. Cost is one, though the $30 cost of the Moneto kit kinda hints to that not being a big issue. Battery performance is another, though NFC isn't inherently a big baddie in that regard either. Perhaps the biggest potential issue I can think of is integration with the device, as I don't think an app has the ability to present itself as NFC hardware – meaning that Pebble would have to make an SDK and get support for the watch integrated into existing NFC capable apps to make it work. If that's the case it's still not a deal breaker, but definitely a bump in the road. Pebble could of course create its own plugin for Tasker and get enough potential uses to be worth the addition from that alone, but depending fully on a paid third party app to operate a physical hardware addition to a product isn't optimal.
Potential issues aside, I think there's a lot of upsides to such a system. Going back to my original example, the one thing I would definitely do with this is to set up a list of frequently used countdown timer durations in my kitchen, have an NFC chip for each, and simply scan the appropriate duration with my Pebble when cooking, and have that then trigger the timer to set itself. Or I guess I could buy a $2 kitchen timer, but where's the fun in that? I haven't pledged the Pebble yet because I'm not 100% sure I need it, but if this was added to it, I would go completely Fry on the thing.
You can't always get what you want though, so I don't have high hopes of this happening. From what I can gather it hasn't even been brought up as a potential addition to the Pebble before, so in any case I sent them a message about it. Who knows, perhaps I'm lucky and they agree with me that this would be three steps above awesome.