austriamicrosystems outs improved NFC microSD with Infineon
Posted by Seth PlanckNovember 16th, 2011 at 9:33 AM Filed Under Latest News
austriamicrosystems outs improved active boost NFC microSD with Infineon to take on INSIDE Secure in retro fitting NFC into older smartphones
austriamicrosystems announced the first demonstration that enables NFC (near field communication) data transfer on removable secure elements using a micro-antenna design. Earlier today we heard that INSIDE Secure launched a competing product that also works in an NFC microSD format utilizing a micro-antenna. The AS3922 NFC microSD from austriamicrosystems features integrated antenna and active booster. It’s that active booster that has likely increased the read range.
“Infineon is continuously innovating to bring NFC to the consumer mass market” said Thomas Rosteck, Vice President & General Manager of Secure Mobile & Transaction at Infineon Technologies. “With our active NFC solution developed together with austriamicrosystems, we extend our comprehensive portfolio helping the business models of the mobile payment stakeholders and we enable the introduction of new secure NFC services to the consumer.”
Can austriamicrosystems bring near field communication to non-NFC phones using NFC microSD solutions?
Until now the problem with NFC microSD secure elements with NFC antennas attached has been horrible read/write capabilities that have generally given a bad experience. Today at CARTES, austriamicrosystems and INSIDE Secure announced that they had cracked that problem and both had samples on hand with usable products coming next year.
“Partnering with Infineon enabled us to leverage their huge wealth of experience within the payment industry as well as their expertise as a market leader for secure microcontrollers,” said Kambiz Dawoodi, Senior VP & GM for the Consumer & Communications Business Unit of austriamicrosystems. “Both companies bring a lot of complementary IP to the overall design platform, resulting in a truly unique solution for the market.”
austriamicrosystems believes that by working with Infineon it will speed up the deployment and the acceptance of standalone NFC solutions based on ultra small form factors such as NFC microSD. That same concept is true of U-SIM’s as well and an expected growth area in NFC is devices that are not phones which could also benefit from these capabilities. The market that austriamicrosystems has in mind is the millions of phones that currently don’t have NFC capabilities. By using NFC microSD cards, the firm wants to cash in on those millions of handsets that are sans near field communication.
According to Don Tait, Senior Market Analyst at IMS Research, “Most mobile phones are equipped with a microSD slot and represent a huge opportunity for expanding the success of NFC technology. Moreover, beyond the technological aspects, standalone NFC solutions such as NFC microSD are a way to support business models independent from mobile operators or mobile phone manufacturers.”
Using the microSD as an NFC IC, antenna and secure element allows non-NFC phones to conduct payments and other secure functions. However, using an NFC microSD does have its sacrifices. Firstly, you have to give up your extra memory in order to conduct NFC payments, although no doubt in time these NFC microSD cards will grow in capacity and capability. For now until the read distance has been tested, we don’t know how these NFC microSD cards actually perform. It appears with the INSIDE Secure and austriamicrosystems announcements that the competition is hotting back up in the NFC microSD market.