Recently, there has been an uptick of interest in the NTAG215 chip due to its use in products such as Nintendo’s Amiibo figurines. The NTAG215 is a fairly uncommon tag from consumer retailers, but here at TapTrack, we’ve worked with it quite a bit in our business-to-business solutions, and have sold it as part of our tag evaluation kits for quite a while. While the rest of this post will simply describe the NTAG215 and why it’s less common than other tags, if you’re on this page simply because you’re interested in purchasing NTAG215s, please click the link below to order some:
What is an NTAG
NTAGs are a line of Type 2 NFC tags produced by NXP semiconductors designed explicitly to be used for storing NDEF messages. As such, they come from the factory already formatted for NDEF, have improved efficiency for better message reading, and are available with more memory than traditional Type 2 tags. The current second-generation NTAGs also have anti-tampering features, one way counters, and several other advanced capabilities previously only found in more advanced type 3 and type 4 tags.
The specific models of second-generation NTAGs generally follow a naming scheme where they are designated using the “NTAG21X” pattern, where X refers to a specific memory capacity of NTAG. Currently, in addition to a few specialized variants, the second-generation NTAG21X family consists of the NTAG210, 212, 213, 215, and 216 with 48, 128, 144, 504, and 888 bytes of user memory, respectively.
Why the NTAG215 seems uncommon
First, we should clarify a bit. The NTAG215 isn’t actually uncommon, it is, in fact, very common; however, the NTAG215 is not very available in small quantities for the general consumer. The reason for this is, quite simply, because the NTAG216 also exists. The cost difference between the NTAG216’s silicon chip and the NTAG215’s is actually a matter of a few pennies at scale despite the 216 offering approximately 25% more memory than the 215.
While the price difference is very small, if you are a business ordering a million tags, just a two cent savings per tag adds up to an overall savings of twenty thousand dollars. Additionally, in most business applications you have a strong understanding of what you are going to be putting on your tags and whether or not the additional 384 bytes a 216 offers will offer any extra utility. As a result of these factors, the NTAG215 is a quite strong candidate for large-scale business applications such as the Amiibo where you desire a fair amount of memory while making unit costs as low as possible.
On the other hand, if you are a tag retailer selling to consumers, you have no idea what data people are going to want to put on the tags, so having the largest memory capacity available at a given price point makes sense. Due to the very minor chip price difference, it often doesn’t make sense to incur the cost of stocking both of the high-capcity types of NTAGs when most consumers would rather just pay the few cents more per tag and get the extra memory a 216 offers. As a result, most consumer NFC retailers completely skip over the NTAG215 and only offer the 216.