Can Modern Smartphones Be Used as an RFID Reader?

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Ask The ExpertsCategory: QuestionsCan Modern Smartphones Be Used as an RFID Reader?
Darragh McDonnell asked 10 months ago

I know that they have Near Field Communication (NFC), which falls under RFID, but is it possible to have them read RFID tags?

—Darragh

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Darragh,

Currently, mobile phones do not have the capacity to read UHF RFID tags. However, as you mentioned, nearly all now come with RFID radios that can interrogate NFC or HF RFID tags within a short range. (hese readers are most often used for mobile payments.

For those who want to read UHF RFID tags, which have a longer range—often a dozen meters or so—a separate RFID reading device is necessary. Sled or Bluetooth-style readers can be linked to a smartphone or tablet, and then, usually with the help of an app, users can begin capturing tag reads on their device. Some examples are Zebra's RFD8500, TSL's sled devices and AS Reader's Bluetooth-enabled Gun or Pocket Type readers.

More recently, many handset makers have been incorporating UWB RFID functionality into their phones and tablets. Some industry watchers expect that UHF RFID may be available in the coming years as well, in at least a few such devices.

Claire Swedberg
Senior Editor
RFID Journal

 

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