SAN FRANCISCO—NXP Semiconductors NV Monday (Dec. 6) announced a strategic collaboration with Google Inc. to provide a complete open source software stack for Near Field Communications (NFC).
The NFC stack will be fully integrated and validated on Gingerbread, the latest version of Google's Android operating system, NXP (Eindhoven, the Netherlands) said. Google also integrated NXP's NFC controller—PN544—into the newly launched Nexus S phone, co-developed by Google and Samsung, NXP said.
Last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt showed an unannounced handset using NFC and the Gingerbread version of Android at the Web 2.0 Summit. Research in Motion Ltd.'s Co-CEO Jim Balsillie hinted that the Blackberry maker would also support NFC in future products.
NFC—a short range wireless communication technology championed by NXP and others that enables the exchange of data between devices that are placed within about 4 inches apart—has been gaining momentum in recent weeks. On Monday, Oberthur Technologies Group and STMicroelectronics NV said they would cooperate to provide a highly secure SIM solution that will allow travelers and commuters to use their NFC enabled mobile phones as an electronic ticket. Last week, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced an NFC chip with embedded flash memory intended for use in mobile handsets.
Also last month, NXP announced a licensing deal to make its Mifare contactless smart card technology to be integrated into the Universal Integrated Circuit Card smart card format of Gemalto NV used in mobile terminals and Smart card IC company Inside Contactless SA launched a SecuRead system-in-package for NFC mobile devices.
"Android's openness has provided a great platform for accelerated innovations," said Eric Chu, mobile platforms program manager for Google, in a statement. "We are always looking for creative ways to enhance and extend the utilities of mobile devices with new technologies. With NXP's contribution, the introduction of NFC in Android provides developers, service providers, and device manufacturers a game-changing opportunity to deliver new services while enabling users to interact with each other and the physical world in ways previously not possible."
NXP said enabling developers able to access an open source NFC implementation would help drive the development of new applications that extend the touch interface of mobile applications beyond the devices screen.
NXP co-invented NFC in 2002. In 2004, the company co-founded the NFC Forum to lead the collaboration with all industry stakeholders and help standardize the technology. NFC technology evolved from a combination of contactless identification (RFID) and interconnection technologies.
The PN544, launched in 2009, is billed by NXP as the world's first industry standard NFC controller, delivering a fully compliant platform for handset manufacturers and operators to introduce next generation NFC devices and services. The chip is fully compliant with all released NFC specifications on the Single Wire Protocol connection with the SIM and the Host Controller Interface, according to NXP.