NXP, the independent semiconductor company founded by Philips, today unveiled the world's first truly industry standard Near Field Communication (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 (ETSI). 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 (Subscriber Identity Module) for improved on-the-go experience.
"In 2008, the GSMA Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative called for full NFC functionality including the standardized SWP 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. "Standardisation will also help other organisations align their businesses to support mobile contactless services - stimulating the market further."
Using its leadership in NFC technology, NXP has created with the PN544 a solution which is fully compliant with all released NFC specifications on the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) connection with the SIM and the Host Controller Interface (HCI). 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 Semiconductors. "Through extensive dialogue 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 (UICC), 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).
NXP has co-invented NFC jointly with Sony in 2002 and co-founded the NFC Forum in 2004 to drive collaboration with all stakeholders within the industry and help standardize the technology. Ranked as the number one contactless IC vendor by ABI Research in 2007 and 2008, NXP is the global leader in NFC solutions for mobile phones, infrastructure, PC and peripherals, which are field proven in about 200 NFC trials and landmark commercial deployments worldwide.
Other key benefits of the PN544 include:
- Small footprint for size optimization
- Optimized for low power consumption
- Working in Battery off and Battery Low modes
- MIFARE 1K/4K Reader/writer functionality enabled in host baseband
- Optionally available with an modular, generic and platform independent software stack
- Optimized antenna designs for best-in-class RF performance
- 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 of 2009 - at the same time first commercially NFC-enabled handsets are expected to be launched.