Intel implants cash register to help flog Ultrabooks
NFC tech backed by MasterCard
MasterCard and Intel have announced they'll be working together to put NFC readers into Ultrabooks that will secure online shopping as well as user identity.
The agreement between Intel and MasterCard involves putting PayPass-compatible terminals into Ultrabooks, so any thus-equipped Ultrabook will be able to operate as an electronic till for secure online payments, as well as supporting the NFC standard for reading company IDs and suchlike as well as connecting to other NFC devices.
Near Field Communications isn't really fast enough to synchronise data, but it is ideal for exchanging connection details, so NFC devices can be tapped together to set up a Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi, connection, but that's nice-to-have rather than a killer feature which will make someone buy an Ultrabook.
Ultrabooks already come with a secure identity, a unique ID embedded in the processor as "Intel Identity Protection Technology", but adding a PayPass reader expands that into the physical world. Companies should like the idea of workers logging on with a tap of the corporate-ID, and payments would be a lot more secure authenticated with PayPass then they usual typing of 16-digit numbers.
Not that this is the first attempt to integrate payment technology into a computer. Swipe-card readers have been available in keyboards for years, and at one point American Express was sending out chip 'n pin readers to any customer who asked.
But those schemes rely on the computer to process the transaction, and in these days of Trojans and hackers the computer can't be trusted. Embedding a PayPass reader in the Ultrabook should remove that dependency, with the computer just responsible for conveying the (encrypted) communication between the reader and MasterCard's servers, and displaying the result to the user.
Whether that's enough to make people buy Ultrabooks is more difficult to say. So far the market for the even-lighter-notebook-computers has proved very costs sensitive, and while adding NFC might be cheap it still has an incremental cost which the Ultrabook bill of materials may not be able to stand. ®
So something I can't afford now includes something I never wanted. How can I stand the excitement?
already out there
My 6 month old dell laptop has a smart card slot and contactless smart card reader. All it needs is the software and it should be able to work as a credit card terminal.
Please buy our kit...
... so you can more easily give other people your money. This is the sort of approach that makes me go "and just what are you going to pay me to make me use this thing, eh?"
Also notice tacit admission that the biggest security problem is the user, which therefore must be inhibited from not spending anything through the vendor-approved channel(s). And your identity? That's now a number embedded in the cpu of your ultrabook. To be transfered to whichever party asks, using software... that also can't be trusted. And of course embedding a number in a chip does not at all guarantee that another bit of software elsewhere isn't sending out the same number even though it's not embedded in any yon chip. Bit of a sham to relabel an asset management assistance tool to "identity protection". I really don't need more marketeering lies with this.
One upside: Lose the thing and you might still have your phone to call everyone and cancel all your cards. Well, that's a relief.