Feeds

Android Open NFC gets a bit more open

Our abstraction is more abstract than your abstraction

New hybrid storage solutions

Inside Secure is about to launch a more abstracted NFC API, one compatible with Android versions 2.3 and (notably) 2.4, allowing developers to start showing what's possible with NFC.

The new implementation of the Open NFC (Near Field Communications) API will be available for download from the end of the month, with Inside Secure claiming that its abstraction layer makes the stack more hardware independent than the competition, but also that it's compatible with Android version 2.4. That claim is more surprising when you consider Android 2.4 has yet to be announced.

Given that Android version 3, Honeycomb, seems to be a fork aimed at higher-power devices, it's not surprising to see confirmation that there will be a new incremental version for handsets, nor that the Open NFC API will support it.

The Nexus S handsets, running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) already offers programmers very limited access to the NFC hardware; providing a public API limited to reading tags. Undocumented APIs have been discovered to allow writing tags too, but interacting with the secure element (essential for the more interesting applications of NFC) is still impossible until Google/Samsung releases a software update.

The Nexus S uses an NFC chip from Inside Secure's competitor NXP, and Inside reckons the supplied software stack is insufficiently abstracted from that hardware - perhaps concerned that such an integration will make its competitors' hardware more attractive.

Android developers don't yet care about such details, but just want to be able to do more with the hardware. At least they can already do something, unlike those touting Nokia's NFC handset, the C7, which has no exposed NFC API at all - so an NFC handset in name only until it gets upgraded.

That upgrade will almost certainly expose an Open NFC API, or the Java equivalent (JSR257), the industry having coalesced around the standard which us welcome. Once developers start being able to play properly with the hardware we should finally get to see if NFC really does open up loads of new capabilities or remains an oddity. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
Shades of Mannesmann: Vodafone should buy T-Mobile US
Biting the bullet would let Blighty-based biz flip the bird at AT&T
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Net neutrality fans' joy as '2.3 million email' flood hits US Congress
FCC invites opinions in CSV format, after Slowdown day 'success'
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.