Going to smaller geometries
NFC is a short-range communications channel that operates at 13.56-MHz at data rates up to about 500-kbit/s. It can support passive tags with preset information that can be powered up by the NFC reader. But it is also expected to become widely used for making financial payments by smartphone. The range of applications include: access control, transportation, healthcare, information collection and exchange, loyalty coupons and payments.
Intel recently upgraded its membership of the NFC Forum industry body to take on a seat on its board of directors.
At present Inside's chips include analog and RF circuitry as well as digital and are implemented in 130-nm CMOS and Inside publicly endorses Globalfoundries as a foundry supplier.
Working at 45-nm and below is of interest to work with Intel," said de Tonnac, although whether Intel will also operate as a foundry and supply chips back to Inside was not made clear. When asked if this was a possibility Inside Secure declined to comment.
When asked if the Intel deal was likely to replace the initial public offering (IPO) that Inside has planned, de Tonnac said: "We had the deal with Intel lined up prior to postponing our IPO. It does not replace the IPO. We still want to do that, hopefully in 2012."
"Working with an industry leader like Intel will play a significant role in the mainstream rollout of NFC," said Charles Walton, chief operating officer for Inside Secure, in a statement.
"NFC is gaining traction in many markets as one of the most convenient ways to use consumer electronic devices for payments and retail commerce transactions, for access to facilities and information and a host of other applications," said Aicha Evans, vice-president and general manager of Intel's mobile wireless group, in the same statement. "We look forward to working with INSIDE to develop and bring to market a range of exciting connectivity solutions for mainstream consumer products that incorporate NFC features."
Related links and articles:
Intel takes a seat on the board of NFC Forum
Google joins NFC Forum as principal member
Google Wallet, Apple will force operator cooperation
Inside updates anti-counterfeit NFC chip