Feeds

NFC not just for Apple

Androids eye near field comms

The essential guide to IT transformation

Apple has been busy patenting all things NFC, but according to silicon manufacturers it will be Android handsets that bring short-range wireless into the mainstream first.

Near Field Communications - a short-range radio standard aimed at the proximity-payment/home-automation market - will appear in a "vast portfolio of [Android] phones next year" NXP Semiconductors, who make NFC chips, has told NFC World, but it’s Apple who's tying up the business model that might pay for short-range wireless.

Apple has been patenting all sorts of wireless applications, the latest being "iTravel" which covers using an NFC-equipped iPhone as a boarding pass as well as equipping iTunes with the ability to sell travel tickets and provide proof of identity through "a photograph, fingerprint or retinal scan... for verification of the traveller’s identity".

Much of the patent, detailed by Patently Apple, will be familiar to anyone who’s used Felica or similar. Airlines in Japan use Felica applications in much the same way as described by Apple and would seem, at a glance, to provide considerable prior-art. But we’ll leave that to the patent lawyers to argue about.

While Apple presents ways in which to make money from NFC, Android fans should get their hands on some NFC hardware by the end of 2010, though with a pair of "standard" APIs available it might be a while before NFC applications follow the hardware.

NXP Semiconductors, makers of NFC chips, told NFC World it expected "first phones will be available this year" with more coming in the first half of 2011. Those phones should be programmable using NXP’s Apache-licensed API, as opposed to the entirely open-sourced (and hosted on souceforge.net) version from Inside Contactless. Both versions have been proposed to the Open Handset Alliance, and both companies admit that a single standard is desperately needed - they just disagree on which standard that should be.

But even once a single API is available for NFC on Android, it still won’t have the infrastructure to support the kind of revenue-generating application embodied by iTravel.

Apple will be getting into NFC - the only question is when. A comprehensive dissection of the next iPhone didn’t show any NFC hardware, though that wasn’t carried out with NFC in mind so a chip and antenna could easily have been missed.

It seems likely that Cupertino will be happy to let Android lead the way, test the hardware and introduce the concepts, before it swoops in itself and makes the whole thing practical and popular. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Will It Blend? Maybe. BlackBerry’s secret comeback weapon
The Desktop PIM buddy: A 1990s idea finally done right?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?