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Low-cost handsets pack NFC capability

Posted: 24 Feb 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NFC? near field communications? low cost handset?

Malaysian mobile device company Fonelabs Sdn Bhd has released a new generation of low-cost handsets that will support enhanced NFC services for developing markets.

The X-Series phones incorporate NFC from NXP Semiconductors and an internal antenna together with an optional MicroSD based secure element. Offering full compatibility with MIFARE technology, these low cost NFC mobile phones can be used with most contactless transport applications and can support any financial application relying on smart cards.

Fonelabs CEO Herve Jegou commented: "In many developing markets today, NFC and contactless secure cards provide real convenience for urban transportation and are key to the spread of financial services to rural areas. With the X-Series NFC-enabled mobile phones, we give transport operators and financial institutions in these markets the ability to easily deploy their existing contactless smart cards services into mobile phones.

Fonelabs works with Cell Idea, a young yet innovative solution provider which focuses on mobile payment and mobile transactions. Cell Idea provides a secure NFC MicroSD-card to store the secure applications that can be used in the X-series NFC phones.

"Right now transport operators and service providers can personalize, manage and distribute MicroSD smart cards to their customers just like any of today's ATM or transport smart cards. Using their existing infrastructure and security model, service providers can instantly extend the convenience and reach of their services to mobile phones running on any mobile network," says Herve Jegou. "To succeed, NFC technology needs to be simple for both service providers and consumers. With our low cost X-Series phones, mobile contactless applications can be deployed today, with a simpler security and deployment model suitable for many developing markets."

The X-Series NFC mobile phones from Fonelabs will also provide Single Wire Protocol (SWP) compatibility starting in Q3 2009. Using the latest SWP-compliant NFC controller from NXP, all X-Series mobile phones will then support routing of NFC applications to both SD card and SIM card based secure elements.

"Cell-Idea strongly believes in the value of Contactless and NFC technologies," said by Omer Katz, CTO of Cell Idea. "We believe that MicroSD is a very powerful means of bringing smart-cards and secure applications to various consumer electric products, especially to mobiles. Our Secure NFC Micro-Card is the perfect vehicle for financial institutions, transport operators and other NFC service providers to store their applications in a safe and secure way that is easy to deploy."

Steffen Steinmeier, global marketing manager for NFC at NXP said, "The introduction of this low-cost NFC-enabled mobile phone from Fonelabs is a huge step forward in the wide-scale rollout of NFC technology in the South East Asia region. NXP has been working very closely with Fonelabs to develop this handset. As existing contactless infrastructure for automatic ticketing and mobile payments can be easily leveraged with NFC-enabled handsets, we are confident that these phones will find an instant market in countries such as China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand."

The X-series NFC-enabled mobile phones from Fonelabs supporting NFC applications will be available in March 2009.





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