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50M NFC-enabled mobile devices to hit the market in 2011: Inside Contactless

In 2011 there will be more than 50 million Near Field Communication-enabled mobile devices available commercially worldwide, according to Inside Contactless, a provider of semiconductor products for secure transactions and digital identity.

Inside Contactless has introduced SecuRead, a complete system-in-package NFC platform that lets manufacturers of NFC mobile phones and other connected devices to integrate all of the contactless, security and application functions required for a broad range of NFC payment, retail, transit, ID and access control applications. Inside’s SecuRead already has been selected by a leading mobile device manufacturer for use in NFC mobile device products due out in 2011.

“What we forecast for next year in terms of contactless mobile payments, there will be above 50 million unique devices that are NFC-capable in markets worldwide,” said Loic Hamon, vice president of products and marketing for NFC at Inside Contactless, Aix-en-Provence, France. “Since 2007, every year the next year’s forecast has been 1 million units, but this is the first year that next year’s forecast is not 1 million units, but way above.

“We are the first actor in the value chain, so it takes about 18 months to deliver a hardware and software solution from our side,” he said. “For handset manufacturers, it takes 12-to-18 months to get an NFC handset fully functional and approved.

“We are preparing for a high volume of shipments in April or May of next year, and we are highly confidant in the numbers I’m giving you.”

Inside’s secure semiconductor products power smart cards, mobile devices, acceptance devices and infrastructure systems featuring contactless, contact, embedded and NFC technologies.

The company specializes in microcontroller architectures, security, RF/analog design and vertical market requirements.

NFC set to explode in 2011
Mr. Hamon said that Inside Contactless cannot disclose the name of the handset manufacturer that will deploy the SecuRead platform next year.

SecuRead integrates Inside’s MicroRead NFC controller with a security controller from Infineon Technologies and a GlobalPlatform-compliant Java Card operating system from Giesecke & Devrient.

SecuRead also integrates Inside’s Open NFC protocol stack to provide a platform designed to help mobile device manufacturers bring NFC capabilities to market more quickly.

Mr. Hamon said that unlike other NFC solutions, which must be integrated from multiple hardware and software providers, SecuRead provides a one-stop-shop, turn-key platform that mobile device-makers can use to enable a broad range of NFC applications in their products.

“This will be available worldwide, but we have a special focus on the U.S. market,” Mr. Hamon said. “[SecuRead] is in line with the [Isis] mobile payments initiative lead by a couple of U.S. carriers [Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA].

“The benefits of such a solution are obvious,” he said. “SecuRead is a complete solution available featuring NFC with a high level of security, together with this hardware and software product.”

SecuRead offers all the functionality of Inside’s third-generation MicroRead v3 silicon—plus the secure element and Java Card OS—in a VQFN-32 package, and is pin-for-pin compatible with the standalone MicroRead product.

The on-chip Java Card operating system, based on G&D’s Convego Join 4, includes the implementation of the GlobalPlatform 2.1.1 specifications, supports the full Java Card 3.0.1 API and is compliant with relevant ISO standards as well as EMV for domestic and international mobile payment.

The Java Card Operating system supports core AES cryptography for OSPT standards in the transit fare collection market, and a Mifare-compliant emulation is provided for compatibility for some transit applications.

SecuRead also supports HID iClass virtual credentials and is HID Trusted Identity Platform-enabled for access control and emerging mobile applications.

The secure element features a microcontroller with multitasking capability that stores both code and data in a 144KB non-volatile memory, and is Common Criteria EAL5+ high certified and EMVCo approved.

Inside’s SecuRead platform is pre-integrated with Inside’s Open NFC, a commercial-grade NFC protocol stack that runs on the application or baseband processor to control SecuRead operation.

Open NFC version 3.5 software and source code is available at no cost in Android, Windows Mobile, Linux and Java (JSR-257) editions with API documentation on 

Inside also offers a suite of NFC payment, transit, loyalty, and access control and identity applets to run on SecuRead, including support for HID iClass virtual credentials.

Engineering samples of the Inside Contactless SecuRead system-in-package secure NFC solution will be available in December, with production quantities available in April 2011. 

“We’re putting a secure element from our partner on this product, a ready solution for mobile phones and other connected devices to support a mobile payment solution and any application that requires an element of security,” Mr. Hamon said.

Inside acquired part of the Sagem Mobile group, which has already released a mobile phone with NFC.

“We speaking the same language as handset manufactures, which is important for our customers,” Mr Hamon said.

“We are compliant with carriers’ requirements for mobile payments—in fact, SecuRead is one of the very first solutions that is compliant with those requirements,” he said.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily