NXP, having worked with Apple on Apple Pay, now launches its PN66T module for secure NFC mobile transactions -- for Android.
In the past few weeks Apple Pay has been making the news as the new way to easily implement mobile payments with the iPhone 6 and the upcoming Apple Watch.
What Apple did -- apparently with a lot of help from NXP -- is bring the best of both worlds together: a mobile device with a hardware secure element (not the SIM card) that can be easily provisioned over the air by the issuing bank or credit-card company.
Users only need to snap a picture of any payment card supported by Apple Pay and, after a security check, the SE is provisioned over the internet with the right credentials. Apple used the NXP 65V10 NFC module, which probably contains the PN548 Secure Element. The solution has been jointly developed by NXP and Apple.
Now NXP is launching the PN66T, a single solution to implement the same functionality of Apple Pay but for Android devices. While NXP claims that the module is OS independent, the features clearly indicate that Android devices are the likely recipients of the SoC.
The company says the module combines a highly secure Smart MX2 element (P61), near field communications (NFC) radio, operating system and trust provisioning. It has been designed to solve most of the problems and compatibility issues when emulating different NFC solutions, and to help OEMs, MNOs and other players to develop secure NFC solutions. It also offers complementary support for Host Card Emulation (HCE) to help port existing applications to new devices.
The module also helps reduce the BoM for new devices as it integrates the NFC controller and secure element in one chip. NXP says the module also improves the NFC range and allows reduction of antenna size by 25%.
The advantage for smartphone OEMs is the easy implementation of payment solutions today, as the PN66T is Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMVCo) certified, and also supports American Express ExpressPay, thus fully covering the three big credit card companies, ensuring the compatibility and interoperability with existing and future payment solutions.
To make it easier for OEMs, service providers, and financial institutions to deploy solutions, the PN66T features a loader service, which will speed up delivery of new applications and provide credentials to smartphones, tablets and wearables.
The PN66T is not limited to the functionality of debit and credit cards. The module is also prepared to emulate smartcards based on PBOC, MIFARE4Mobile M4M2.1, and FIDO, making it ideal for for transit and security applications.
Jeff Miles, vice president of mobile transactions at NXP Semiconductors, said in a press statement:
As... co-inventor of NFC technology, NXP is uniquely positioned to enable mobile transaction solutions that make life easier and private data more secure for consumers and enterprises alike. The PN66T solves previously existing bottlenecks to widespread mobile transaction adoption by enabling service providers to deliver a wide variety of secure element use cases with a single solution. Imagine a solution to secure mobile transactions where the secure element and NFC connectivity are seen as just another resource like GPS, WiFi, or Bluetooth. The PN66T is fulfilling this premise.
The PN66T could be the solution that Android OEMs have been waiting for to provide a simple solution for banks, credit card companies, transit authorities and security. If they can resist the pressure of the carriers not to implement such solutions -- as carriers want to impose their SIM solutions for security, OEMs could offer the same functionality of Apple Pay and also address the transit and security markets, giving them a significant advantage.