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    Sony/NXP joint venture announces ‘universal NFC chip’

    Moversa’s new U-SAM chip enables multiple contactless technologies to be supported on one mobile phone, raising the possibility that consumers could soon be using their NFC handsets for everything from Mifare metro tickets and Japanese Osaifu-Keitai electronic wallet functions to Visa and MasterCard contactless transactions.

    SINGLE CHIP: Moversa's U-SAM 'will enable developers to create applications that run independently of the underlying contactless technology'

    SINGLE CHIP: Moversa's U-SAM 'will enable developers to create applications that run independently of the underlying contactless technology'

    Moversa, the joint venture between NXP and Sony Felica established in November 2007, is to unveil its first product at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

    U-SAM, which is available as either a SIM or as an embedded secure element, is designed to enable an NFC phone to handle the widest possible range of contactless applications, irrespective of the type of contactless technology employed in any particular application.

    “The chip manages contactless smart card applications, regardless of protocols and operating systems, in near field communication (NFC)-enabled mobile devices,” says Moversa.

    U-SAM supports NXP’s Mifare technology and Sony’s FeliCa technology and also supports a number of other operating systems such as the Java Card OS. This, says Moversa, “allows the product to work across a number of installations and facilitate payments using Visa’s payWave and MasterCard’s PayPass.”

    The idea is that U-SAM will be the foundation for the development of a universal mobile contactless IC platform that will enable developers to create applications that run independently of the underlying contactless technology. Ultimately, a single phone could be used to buy a ticket on any of the world’s metro systems or to make a purchase at any contactless-enabled point-of-sale anywhere in the world.

    “The U-SAM provides a simple, secure and interoperable solution for manufacturers to develop NFC-enabled devices which can be used with the existing contactless installation base”, says Guus Frericks, president of Moversa. “Handsets powered by our universal contactless IC platform will enable mobile network operators and service providers to drive mobile wallet concepts on a global basis by rolling out exciting new contactless services which enhance consumer lifestyles.”

    U-SAM supports standardised communication interfaces such as SPI, ISO7816, UART and SWP (ETSI compliant) and runs on “a widely-used secure CPU core based on high performance 32-bit architecture with a high density embedded non-volatile memory.”

    It supports DES/3DES, AES, RSA, ECC and its hardware is targeted to receive Common Criteria EAL 5+ and EMVCo certification.

    Sampling to selected customers will begin during the middle of 2009 with volume ramp-up expected during the first half of 2010.

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