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UK start-up pitches touch-to-sync tech for watches

NFC moves beyond phones?

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Hoptroff, a London-based technology developer, today announced a chip for timepieces that, it claimed, "end the era of ‘dumb’ watches".

Examples of such functionality include the ability to "store personal time-related data, such as the birthdays of spouses and children, local sunset and sundown times, tidal conditions or religious holiday dates".

The technology will let watches "synchronise with other smart devices, so wearers are always on time".

Many readers will already have said to themselves that these things are possible already, without Hoptroff's TimeKiss system.

For example, this reporter would rather synchronise his watch with the world's various radio time siignals than with a smartphone, say. And this I already do using a Casio Waveceptor.

Speaking of Casio, it was one of the first watchmakers to allow you to store and access personal data on a watch, back in the 1980s.

No, what's more interesting about TimeKiss is its near-field communications (NFC) component, which, Hoptroff promises, will swap data "simply [by] holding one TimeKiss device against another".

Says the company: "Data transfer occurs in a few seconds without any need for leads or additional connectors. It can even be used to set the time on clocks in and around the home and automobile."

All this will be possible only after Hoptroff persuades watch and other gadget makers to incorporate its TimeKiss tech into their products.

NFC is set to be added to an increasing range of gadget types in the coming years, phones in particular - Nokia is very keen on the technology, and it's in the Samsung Nexus S. A future iPhone is rumoured to be getting in on the act too.

NFC will primarily be used as the basis for cash- and card-less payment. Which might well be more convenient to do if you can touch the sensor with your wrist rather than digging out your phone every time. ®

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