What’s in a remote? If you’re Sony, it’s an opportunity to pack in some extra connectivity: select models (read: the more expensive sets, from the W800 range and above) from the company’s 2013 line-up will come with a new, NFC-capable clicker, perfect for hooking up your Xperia device for straightforward video and audio streaming.
Sony already showed us its easy-pairing approach using NFC on the Xperia Z, but the system has more uses than just streaming audio over Bluetooth to a speaker or headset. The TV controller – which Sony is calling the One-touch Remote – when tapped briefly against your compatible Xperia phone automatically pairs up a WiFi Direct connection, and begins screen mirroring.
That means photos, videos, music, and apps on the big screen, and in a way that’s probably so straightforward that we can even envisage the mass-market adopting it. Tapping the phone against the remote a second time cuts the connection, with a little haptic-feedback buzz from the Xperia to let you know it’s worked.
In fact, the limiting factor is likely to be the fact that it’s Sony-only right now. Just as with other customized NFC-based systems we’ve seen – Samsung’s S Beam comes to mind, on the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II – there’s no playing nicely between the technologies. Being able to hand your friends and family the remote and have their content almost instantly appear on the big-screen is great; having to frisk them to make sure they have a Sony Xperia first is less impressive.