Once upon a time, last August more exactly :), the NFC Ring launched on Kickstarter, and funding was an amazing success. Thanks to NFC technology, the ring is battery-less, and communicates with other NFC enabled devices so that you can unlock your door, unlock your smartphone, share information such as contact details, website links, pictures, etc… The rings will most probably be shipped to Kickstarter
wizards backers next month or in January. However, a very similar product called GalaGreat GalaRing G1 has appeared on websites such as GeekBuying and Expansys for about $30. [Update: It’s now available on DealExtreme for $28.47]
There are 2 NFC chips from NXP in the ring which is also said to be water- and dust-proof (IP68). The ring is available in small (Ø 17mm), medium (Ø 20), and large (Ø 22mm) sizes. As mentioned above the device is battery-less, so you won’t have to worry about battery life, or replacing the battery. This won’t work with any phone, as you’ll need an phone supporting NFC. The company lists support for:
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus / S3 / S3 Mini / S4 / Note2, Google Nexus S
- Motorola Moto X, Droid Maxx, Droid Razr M / HD
- HTC One, First, One X
- LG Nexus 4, Optimus 4X HD / L5 / L7
- Sony Xperia Z / T / P / S
- Xiaomi Mi-2A / Mi3, OPPO Find5, GEAK Eye, etc..
The current version of the app (R1.0) is said to support “personal card” and “program lock” features. The first feature allows you to write your contact details to the ring, and the other lets you link the ring to your phone so that you can automatically unlock your phone, and/or programs when you hold it your hand. Next versions will add further security and privacy features, make the ring connect to the cloud, and even let you play games. It’s also possible NFC Ring app by McLear works with Galaring G1 since the devices look so similar.
Even though it’s “cool”, I’m not completely convinced of the usefulness of NFC Rings at this stage. Further information is available on GalaGreat website.