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NFC controller now sampling to handset makers

Posted: 13 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NFC controller? handset? contactless application? Near Field Communication?

NXP PN544-powered handset

NXP Semiconductors has unveiled what it touts to be the first industry standard NFC controller, delivering a fully compliant platform for handset manufacturers and operators to introduce next generation NFC devices and services.

The new NXP PN544 chip is based on the latest NFC specifications by the European Telecommunications Standard Institute. It will enable mobile phone users to access a new range of contactless applications such as mobile payments, transport and event ticketing as well as data sharing directly from the mobile phone SIM for improved on-the-go experience.

"In 2008, the GSMA Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative called for full NFC functionality including the standardized SWP (Single Wire Protocol) to be available from mid-2009, therefore we very much welcome the introduction of this fully standard compliant NFC product by NXP," said Nav Bains, senior director mobile money, GSM Association.

"Standardized SIM-based NFC chipsets provide a solid foundation for NFC adoption. They provide handset manufacturers, mobile operators, banks, transport operations and a host of other players, with a platform for their NFC developments" said Jonathan Collins, principal analyst, short range wireless, ABI Research. "Standardization will also help other organizations align their businesses to support mobile contactless servicesstimulating the market further."

NXP has created with the PN544 a solution which is fully compliant with all released NFC specifications on the SWP connection with the SIM and the host controller interface. In addition, NXP worked closely with leading SIM card manufacturers such as Gemalto, Oberthur Technologies and Giesecke & Devrient to ensure SWP interface interoperability including support of the MIFARE technology. The new NFC controller is fully backwards compatible and interoperable with existing contactless infrastructure for payments and ticketing, already in place across the world.

"NXP co-invented NFC with the aim of putting the mobile phone at the centre of the consumer's world and the launch of this latest NFC chip brings that aim even closer", said Chris Feige, general manager, Near Field Communication, NXP. "Through extensive dialog with all players in the NFC mobile ecosystem, we've created a solution which will help mobile operators, banks, retailers and services providers to offer new services enabling them to diversify their business and adding real value to the end user."

To meet the needs of the differing handset manufacturers, the PN544 has been designed to support the three main architectures which are used to secure NFC transactions, including the Secure Element within the Universal Integrated Circuit Card, within the SD card and within the mobile handset (embedded Secure Element: PN544 plus Smart MX security chip in a pin to pin compliant solution).

The PN544 also feature small footprint for size optimization. Tailored for low power consumption, the controller works in battery off and battery low modes. The device also includes MIFARE 1K/4K reader/writer functionality enabled in host baseband. Optionally available with an modular, generic and platform independent software stack, the NFC controller has optimized antenna designs for best-in-class RF performance and offers shorter integration time due to qualified design-in support from NXP.

NXP's PN544 is currently being sampled by a number of major handset manufacturers. Mass availability of the product is targeted during Q3 09at the same time first commercially NFC-enabled handsets are expected to be launched.

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