LONDON Contactless chip specialist Inside Contactless (Aix-en-Provence, France) is teaming with Qualcomm Inc. to develop two 3G handset reference designs—one each for UMTS and CDMA2000 networks—that combine Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem chipsets with Inside's MicroRead multi-standard NFC chip.
For Qualcomm, the deal is part of a push to support NFC applications in some of its chipsets.
And as part of the deal, Qualcomm Ventures has joined Inside's other venture capital and strategic backers by making an investment of Euros 4 million ($5.2 million), extending the NFC chip group's series C funding round and bringing the total for the round to Euros 31.7 million ($41.2 million).
"Incorporating Inside Contactless' NFC technology into 3G reference designs based on MSM chipsets will provide additional value to OEMs and ODMs, enabling them to more quickly bring NFC handsets to market," said Len Lauer, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Qualcomm.
The reference designs are expected to be available starting in the second half of 2009.
"This alliance is significant not only for our MicroRead NFC solution, but for NFC technology and the mobile payments market in general. We believe the availability of these reference designs will provide a significant boost to the deployment of NFC-enabled 3G handsets worldwide," said Rémy de Tonnac, chief executive officer of Inside Contactless.
De Tonnac concurred with Qualcomm's Lauer that the reference designs will encourage some handset makers to enter the market more quickly.
Inside Contactless played a key role in developing the ETSI NFC-related standard and has developed early implementations of these standards.
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