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NXP, Google collaborate for Android NFC

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NFC? software stack? Android? handset?

NXP Semiconductors NV and Google Inc. have entered into a collaboration to provide a complete open source software stack for NFC that will be integrated into the latest version of the Android OS.

Google has also chosen NXP's PN544 NFC controller for use in the Nexus S phone, co-developed by Google and Samsung, NXP said.

Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google, had presented an unannounced handset using NFC and the Gingerbread version of Android at the Web 2.0 Summit. Jim Balsillie, co-CEO, Research in Motion Ltd, had also hinted that the Blackberry would support NFC in future products.

Enabling the exchange of data between devices that are up to four inches apart, the short range wireless communication technology championed by NXP and other companies has been gaining momentum. Oberthur Technologies Group and STMicroelectronics NV have also said they would cooperate to provide a highly secure SIM solution that will allow travelers and commuters to use their NFC-enabled mobile phones as an electronic ticket. Also, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd has announced an NFC chip with embedded flash memory intended for use in mobile handsets.

NXP in November announced a licensing deal for the integration of the Mifare contactless smart card technology into the Universal Integrated Circuit Card smart card format of Gemalto NV used in mobile terminals, while smart card IC company Inside Contactless SA launched a SecuRead system-in-package for NFC mobile devices.

"Android's openness has provided a great platform for accelerated innovations," said Eric Chu, mobile platforms program manager for Google, in a statement. "We are always looking for creative ways to enhance and extend the utilities of mobile devices with new technologies. With NXP's contribution, the introduction of NFC in Android provides developers, service providers, and device manufacturers a game-changing opportunity to deliver new services while enabling users to interact with each other and the physical world in ways previously not possible."

NXP said enabling developers able to access an open source NFC implementation would help drive the development of new applications that extend the touch interface of mobile applications beyond the device's screen.

NXP co-invented NFC in 2002. In 2004, the company co-founded the NFC Forum to lead the collaboration with all industry stakeholders and help standardize the technology. NFC technology evolved from a combination of contactless RFID and interconnection technologies.

The PN544, launched in 2009, is billed by NXP as the world's first industry standard NFC controller, delivering a fully compliant platform for handset manufacturers and operators to introduce next generation NFC devices and services. The chip is fully compliant with all released NFC specifications on the Single Wire Protocol connection with the SIM and the Host Controller Interface, according to NXP.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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