The built-in USB host (sometimes known as USB OTG) features of Android mean that, with an adaptor, it's possible to use full-size USB accessories with Android devices. However, stock compatibility is limited to basic input devices such as mice and keyboards. To use other devices, one must rely on third-party applications and, in some cases, custom firmwares. Fortunately, ACS, the makers of the popular ACR122 NFC reader/writer, have released an application for Android devices that allows users to write contact details to blank NFC tags via USB.


ACS have designed the application - Smart Biz Card - to be compatible solely with tablet devices. This means that the UI is almost unusable on phones such as the Galaxy Nexus. To get around that, you'll have to root your phone and change the DPI to one that will result in tablet mode being enabled. Tablet Mode, an application for the Galaxy Nexus, is an easy way to do this.
Above is a screenshot of what Smart Biz Card looks like with tablet mode enabled on a 4.1.1 Galaxy Nexus. Once in tablet mode, everything works perfectly, including the writing and reading of tags with the ACR122. But that's all you can do with this application... read and write contact tags. I suppose that's still a positive for devices that don't have their own NFC hardware.

Despite the lack of features, this application is a great example of the expansion potential of Android. Hopefully it will encourage other developers to explore the idea of building Android applications for the ACR122, but with more functions.  Maybe using an Android device with the ACR122 for ticketing? Card emulation on Android, perhaps? We can only dream.

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