Wireless bundle to bring contactless payments to mobile devices

By , Network World |  Mobile & Wireless, mobile payments, NFC

In another sign that "contactless" mobile payments may be on the verge of mainstream adoption, Inside Contactless has packaged its near-field communications silicon and firmware with a third-party security chip.

Smartphone or tablet manufacturers can embed the ready-to-use package, dubbed SecuRead, directly into their device, rather than relying on an external SIM card, and do so more easily than integrating separate components on their own. The integrated hardware and firmware will support short-range, high frequency wireless connections for payment, transit, ID and access applications, using the handset for all of these purposes.

Such uses are called contactless because a user holds the device near a NFC reader in a ticket kiosk, for example, to buy a train or subway pass.

Android will give NFC a boost, but challenges remain

The vendor, based in Aix-en-Provence, France, says SecuRead has been picked by a "leading mobile device manufacturer" to deploy NFC capabilities in a range of mobile devices due out in 2011. The customer was not identified.

NFC has been a technology exotic for years. It's been most widely used in specialized card systems, such as subway fare passes. But Inside's new package is one sign that it's becoming more mainstream. Google just announced that the next version of the Android mobile operating system, version 2.3, will support NFC for contactless payments.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile just announced a joint venture, dubbed Isis, to create a mobile payment network, enabling subscribers to make secure purchases at a point-of-sale with their phone instead of a credit card. The network will appear in a few key geographic markets in the next 18 months. 

And there have been persistent rumors that Apple will support NFC with the release of "iPhone 5." 


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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