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Archive: News in brief

Gemalto adds LinqUs NFC wallet

February 25th, 2013

Gemalto is demonstrating a new NFC mobile wallet at Mobile World Congress 2013. LinqUs “enables financial service providers and retailers to rapidly deploy a breadth of services that can be customized to their specific needs,” the company says, and includes a secure application framework, dedicated mobile wallet server and pre-integrated connectivity with Gemalto’s TSM and mobile payment platforms.

Oni sets the mood with NFC

February 24th, 2013

A Windows Phone 8 app that can control household lighting has added support for NFC tags. Oni: Light Control works with Philips Hue Connected Bulbs and allows the user to set lighting moods that can be recalled later by tapping their NFC phone to a tag. A video shows the app in action.

Kuwait buses test stickers

February 24th, 2013

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.

Scanther offers merchant tags

February 23rd, 2013

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.

Orange pushes NFC in Israel

February 23rd, 2013

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.

Airtag adds white label wallet

February 23rd, 2013

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.”

NXP adds PUFs to NFC

February 23rd, 2013

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.

Oberthur gets NFC SE certification

February 21st, 2013

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”.

Orange offers NFC prizes

February 19th, 2013

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.

Tizen 2.0 ships with NFC

February 19th, 2013

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.

Visa preps for UK NFC launch

February 19th, 2013

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.

Fitbit adds NFC fitness tracking

February 13th, 2013

Connected health and fitness specialist Fitbit has updated its Android app to include support for NFC. The new version will allow users of its Fitbit Flex wristband — coming in the spring — to launch the Fitbit app and access their fitness stats by tapping the wristband to their NFC phone.

Z10 packs Inside NFC chip

February 13th, 2013

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.

Apple explores pay by watch?

February 13th, 2013

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.

Caen to get NFC tickets

February 6th, 2013

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.

Bradesco tests NFC in Brazil

February 6th, 2013

Mobile network operator Vivo, part of the Telefonica group, and Brazil’s Bradesco bank have begun an NFC payments pilot. Employees of both companies are participating in the test, which enables them to store a Bradesco debit card on an NFC phone and use it to make payments.

Tagster wins NFCtags.com prize

February 6th, 2013

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.”

UBI Banca begins NFC pilot

February 6th, 2013

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.

CIBC picks Sequent for NFC

February 5th, 2013

Canada’s CIBC bank has licensed the Sequent Wallet Management Platform, which was announced last week, for use in its NFC payments service. CIBC also uses NFC technology from Giesecke & Devrient and Tsys.

Nintendo to offer NFC game

February 5th, 2013

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.

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