NFC news in brief
24 February 2013, 21:47
Boloro Kuwait has completed a contactless payments pilot on public transit in Kuwait City. The trial, in partnership with mobile network Zain, saw customers use contactless stickers attached to their phones to pay for journeys on buses operated by Kuwait Public Transport Company (KPTC) and CityGroup. A 16 digit code links the Boloro sticker to the customer's prepaid mobile account, and a receipt delivered by SMS confirms each transaction. "The pilot has been a success on all counts," says the company.
23 February 2013, 15:55
US startup Scanther is raising funds on Indiegogo for a combined mobile website plus NFC tag package for independent retailers. The service is designed to enable small merchants to market their businesses via QR, SMS and NFC-enabled counter signs, window decals and table top signs that link directly to a custom mobile-optimized website.
23 February 2013, 14:23
Orange Israel is offering customers packs of three NFC stickers that work with an NFC app that is pre-installed on all the carrier's Android NFC phones. The stickers contain Smartrac Circus Ntag 203 NFC inlays and were produced for Orange by Tadbik and NFC Israel. The packs cost 39 NIS (US$10.52) and are available online and at Orange sales points across the country. A pack is also provided free of charge to buyers of the Orange Infinity NFC phone.
23 February 2013, 13:40
Mobile shopping specialist Airtag is launching a white label version of its NFC-enabled Airpass mobile wallet at Mobile World Congress 2013. "There are going to be not one, but many mobile wallets that succeed," says Airtag CEO Jérémie Leroyer. "Each brand needs to start building their own identity in the wallet experience, not simply to get a piece of the payment pie, rather to retain and build loyal customers."
23 February 2013, 13:30
Chip maker NXP has licensed Intrinsic ID's Physically Unclonable Function (PUF) technology for use with its SmartMX2 smart card and secure element chips. "PUFs are an innovative way of safeguarding individual chips from data theft by using the unique 'fingerprint' inherent in every semiconductor device to protect its encryption key, making it very hard to clone and thus reverse-engineer and compromise security microcontrollers" says NXP.
21 February 2013, 16:43
Oberthur Technologies has announced that its Pearl Secure Element 800k Classic embedded secure element has been certified by MasterCard for Mobile PayPass applications and by Google for Google Wallet. Pearl is already being used in the Google Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 Android tablet, says Oberthur, and the Google certification means it is now "ready to be integrated into any type of any Android device".
19 February 2013, 16:10
France-based mobile network operator Orange has launched the Orange NFC Awards, a competition for NFC application developers with a total of €40,000 (US$53,448) in prize money, plus a further €5,000 bonus for developers who make use of SIM-based NFC security in their app. The contest is open to all but information is currently available in French only. The entry deadline is 24 March 2013.
19 February 2013, 15:58
Version 2.0 of the Tizen open source mobile operating system is now available and developers can download the source code and SDK from the Tizen website. Tizen is based on Linux, includes support for NFC and is backed by major mobile network operators, device and component makers including Intel, Huawei, Samsung, Orange and NTT Docomo.
19 February 2013, 12:18
Visa is making multiple efforts towards a "mainstream launch" of contactless and mobile payments in the UK in 2013, Marc O'Brien, managing director of Visa UK & Ireland has told a meeting of the Westminster eForum, Marketing Week reports. "Building momentum from the Olympic Games, we're looking to roll out of the [contactless payment] cards and handsets this year," he said. Visa's data suggests that 17% of the UK's mobile phones are NFC-enabled at present, adds the report.
13 February 2013, 23:28
13 February 2013, 10:56
A teardown of the new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone conducted by TechInsights shows that the device's NFC functionality is provided by an Inside Secure SecuRead NFC controller and secure element module. Earlier BlackBerry NFC phones also used chips from Inside Secure for NFC.
13 February 2013, 09:07
Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass, reports The New York Times. Citing "people familiar with the company's explorations," the Times speculates a future "iWatch" would run Apple's iOS platform and could also be used to make mobile payments.
6 February 2013, 17:59
Public transportation users in the French city of Caen will be able to use NFC phones to pay for their bus and tram tickets from June 2013. The new service works with the French mobile network operators' Cityzi NFC service to allow travellers on the Twisto network to buy single tickets, packs of ten tickets and passes from their mobile phone. They then tap their phone to the contactless ticket validators on buses and trams each time they travel.
6 February 2013, 17:43
6 February 2013, 15:36
Australian startup NFC Wireless's Tagster product is to be showcased at the Mobile World Congress after winning a competition organised by tag maker Smartrac's NFCtags.com online portal. The Tagster offering comprises a smartphone app and retail packs that contain six user-programmable NFC "hotdots". Tagster was awarded first place, says Smartrac, "due to the ease of use of its app."
6 February 2013, 11:26
Italian bank UBI Banca has teamed up with mobile network operator Vodafone to pilot an NFC payments service in the city of Varese. The new Enjoy Mobile Payments service lets participants store a UBI Banca prepaid card on a Samsung Galaxy S III NFC phone and then make payments at any merchant equipped to accept MasterCard PayPass contactless transactions.
5 February 2013, 15:26
5 February 2013, 15:20
Nintendo is working on a game that would involve figures or cards that contain NFC tags and make use of the Nintendo Wii U's NFC capabilities, CEO Satoru Iwata has hinted during an earnings call. Nintendo is also looking into the possibility of customers using the Wii U's NFC functionality to make payments, Iwata added.
29 January 2013, 11:54
Hong Kong-based NFC wallet specialist Toro has opened a European research and development centre in Barcelona, Spain. Seven technical staff have already been recruited and an additional twenty developers and UI designers will be hired in 2013. "The Barcelona team is already working on a national NFC wallet deployment by one of the major European telecom operators," the company says.
28 January 2013, 16:20
Citibank is to issue contactless payment stickers to all new customers in the Czech Republic of its Citi Life, Citi Life Metropole, Citi Broker Consulting, Citi Billa and Citi CSA credit cards from February 2013. The stickers will also be available on request to existing customers. The move follows the launch of a similar service in Hungary in October 2012.