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Does Apple’s NameDrop Feature Seem Similar to SendContact’s Virtual Card App?​

SAN DIMAS, CA, Oct, 28, 2023 – The possibility exists that Apple’s iOS 17 NameDrop feature may have drawn inspiration from the SendContact App’s patented Bluetooth technology. However, to establish this, a thorough analysis of Apple’s NameDrop feature is required. NameDrop is a recent addition integrated into iOS 17’s Airdrop, facilitating contact information exchange among users.
Created by inventors Chi Huynh and Jimmy Albert, the SendContact app was filed under the Bluetooth patent in 2015 and granted in 2019, with the title, “Real-time monitoring of users within a predetermined range and selective receipt of virtual cards”, patent number US10,387,004B2


“Methods of selectively distributing virtual cards between mobile devices, comprising providing a plurality of mobile devices assigned to a plurality of users, wherein a software program manages a user account comprising a collection virtual cards, wherein the virtual cards include different profiles of a same user, wherein the account further comprises a user appearance

generated from at least one virtual card for transmission to surrounding mobile devices; selectively displaying the user appearance on a surrounding device only if the original sending device and surrounding device are within a predetermined range; and sending a virtual card to a user associated with a user appearance.”

Link to the SendContact patent:

Indeed, based on the abstract description, SendContact’s patent appears to share similarities with Apple’s NameDrop feature in terms of selectively sharing contact information between mobile devices within a certain range. However,
a detailed examination of the inner workings and functionalities of both systems would be necessary to determine if there are substantial similarities or if there are significant differences that distinguish them.


In this Q & A, inventor and artist, Chi Huynh, who holds over 20 U.S. patents and has invented over half a dozen wireless technologies dependent upon NFC and Bluetooth, will answer some questions about SendContact, Bluetooth technology and its similarities with NameDrop. Chi also decoded and solved the 200-year-old “Dark Shadow Spectrum” mystery in 2020. He’s not just an inventor; he’s a perceptive observer and a modern-day Renaissance man.

Q: Chi, could you tell me how you came up with the idea to invent the Bluetooth virtual card?

Chi Huynh: I’ve invented many things, and sometimes people think it’s a gift from the gods, that ideas just come to me in dreams. That’s not true. I’m like anyone else, but perhaps a bit more sensitive to observing everything around me. I don’t wake up in the morning thinking, ‘Let me invent something.’ It’s always been about recognizing problems that drive me crazy and solving them. In this case, it was about business cards. I remember coming home from a trade show with a bag full of business cards, ready to sort and import them into my contact list. 

Then my wife showed me the Wi-Fi list on her iPhone, which she thought was funny. One of the networks was named ‘FBI Johnson.’ It was our new neighbor’s Wi-Fi. It got me thinking, “Why should my neighbor’s Wi-Fi name show up on my phone, and why can’t it be something more useful, like a business card?” That’s when I thought about turning Wi-Fi names into a business card app, and later I realized Bluetooth was the key. That’s how it all started, and I couldn’t sleep that night, envisioning a new world with Bluetooth technology. I drew up the interface of the app and called up my friend Jimmy, a recent computer engineering graduate, and asked him if he’d quit his job to change the world with me. He said yes, and we began working on it, eventually filing the patent in 2015. That was the beginning of my journey.
Q: So it was your wife who walked in with the funny story while you were inputting the business card, and the two incidents sparked the idea. What happened after that?
Chi Huynh: We worked on it for two years. We faced a significant challenge. Bluetooth technology can be chaotic, with a long list of nearby devices when you turn it on, making it hard to find the person you want to send the card to. So, we developed a solution and patented it. Our innovation measures the signal strength of nearby devices, ensuring the closest one appears at the top of the Bluetooth list. This simple feature saves time, especially in crowded events or at networking gatherings. It effectively manages the chaos of Bluetooth scanning, facilitating instant contact exchange. We named it SendContact.


Q: What happened next? Did you launch it?
Chi Huynh: No, we didn’t. We encountered one more important issue with Bluetooth. Bluetooth is designed to discover people nearby, but if you’re the only one with the app, no one shows up. This meant we needed capital to market the app unless Apple opened up their AirDrop functionality for integration. However, you know how that goes. You buy an Apple device, but you don’t really have control over it. We realized we had a great tool, but it was too early. Timing is crucial, so we decided to get day jobs to gather more funds and while improving the app. We took a break and pondered when the right time to launch would be. We thought about using NFC technology to allow people to tap and exchange contact information using their phones, then activate Bluetooth later. But the iPhone didn’t have NFC until 2017, and even then, it was limited to only to be used for Apple Pay. So, we patented a new NFC process to work around this issue. Finally, in 2019, the iPhone fully supported NFC. We knew our time was coming, but we decided not to rush it. We have created features regarding how to receive and send contacts, but what users do with those contacts is more important. We needed to address that.


Method and apparatus for virtually writing to an NFC chip #US20190122010A1
Q: What do you mean, “what users do with those contacts is more important”?

Chi Huynh: Let me explain. As a businessman, it’s simple for me to understand this process. Most of us follow these three simple steps: Connect with others, present products or services, and try to sell something. That’s the core of any business process. However, the way we currently conduct business is not as efficient as it seems. For example, we can’t easily send large catalogs, email video presentations, or set up online shops without significant effort and cost. We aim to change that. We built three essential tools in the SendContact app: a place to upload photos and catalogs like Instagram; a video channel like YouTube; and a built-in mini online shop with a payment process in the app that even a 12-year-old would be able to understand.By 2020, the pandemic hit, and we realized the world had changed. Bloggers, influencers, and regular people were being censored by big tech for expressing themselves, and as an artist, that deeply concerned me. The essence of being an artist is to express oneself, and if that freedom is lost, it’s a problem. So, I can relate to many bloggers and influencers. Our app would be valuable to them, but we also realized our app and users could be canceled by big tech giants at any moment. That’s when we decided to prepare and protect our users in a new way. We envisioned a future Internet where users are safeguarded, even from us as a platform. It needed to be decentralized, with users owning the app instead of using centralized platforms. However, decentralization wasn’t just a logical or technological challenge; it was a philosophical one. We humans want to be social and private simultaneously, which is paradoxical. Building a decentralized platform for social media is impossible. Instead, we developed a new operating system that allows users to switch between centralized and decentralized modes as needed. It’s a solution that embraces the paradox.

This is what SendContact is all about, and we hope it empowers users to build better businesses, network effectively, and break free from centralization. Perhaps, in the process, we can contribute to making the world a better place through this ultimate communication tool. The SendContact is now ready for you to download on the Apple store. We are committed to make it better every day.
Q: Are you planning to file a complaint with Apple?

Chi Huynh: I will have to let my patent attorney evaluate this carefully and we will decide. I have defended my IP successfully in the past. I understand the game but frankly I don’t like it. I’d rather focus on using my time for something positive rather than bringing such negative energy into my life, but sometimes you have to stand up for yourself or the big guy with a team of lawyers who can bully you because they have more capital. As the saying goes, “when it comes to lawsuits, the one with more will win.” But this is not always true. I’ve learned from experience that it’s hard to hide from the truth. It would be nice if Apple reached out and offered us a licensing deal for the NameDrop feature.

By the way, the SendContact app is much more powerful than NameDrop in many ways. I totally recommend anyone wanting to network, especially those attending trade shows. I can imagine the ability to send a virtual card to everyone around you would be a huge asset for people in business.
Click the link below to download the SendContact app