CARTES & IDentification 2011, UNTERPREMSTAETTEN, AUSTRIA: austriamicrosystems, a leading global designer and manufacturer of high-performance analog ICs, announced the first demonstration that enables NFC (near field communication) data transfer on removable secure elements using a micro-antenna design.
This solution is developed in cooperation with Infineon Technologies AG, the world’s leading supplier of integrated circuits for chip cards. It will speed up the deployment and the acceptance of standalone NFC solutions based on ultra small form factors such as microSD.
NFC is now entering the consumer mass market and despite the release of new NFC enabled phones, standalone solutions are needed to enable NFC for the millions of mobile devices already in the field. According to Don Tait, senior Market Analyst at IMS Research: “Most mobile phones are equipped with a microSD slot and represent a huge opportunity for expanding the success of NFC technology. Moreover, beyond the technological aspects, standalone NFC solutions such as NFC microSD are a way to support business models independent from mobile operators or mobile phone manufacturers.”
Working in close technical cooperation, austriamicrosystems and Infineon leveraged their respective expertise to design solutions that combine an Infineon security contactless microcontroller with austriamicrosystems’ AS3922 RFID front-end chip.
“Infineon is continuously innovating to bring NFC to the consumer mass market” said Thomas Rosteck, VP & GM, Secure Mobile & Transaction at Infineon Technologies. “With our active NFC solution developed together with austriamicrosystems, we extend our comprehensive portfolio helping the business models of the mobile payment stakeholders and we enable the introduction of new secure NFC services to the consumer.” Infineon’s secure microcontrollers are certified according to the Common Criteria and EMVCo international standards and answers to the requirements of NFC Mobile Payment.
The AS3922, the result of the cooperation, supports an antenna booster technology to overcome the lack of reliability of the existing NFC microSD. Existing solutions only operate in a very limited number of phones and over a very short distance. “Partnering with Infineon enabled us to leverage their huge wealth of experience within the payment industry as well as their expertise as a market leader for secure microcontrollers,” said Kambiz Dawoodi, senior VP & GM for Consumer & Communications Business Unit of austriamicrosystems. “Both companies bring a lot of complementary IP to the overall design platform, resulting in a truly unique solution for the market.”
The NFC microSD solution is integrated with the micro-antenna included in the ultra small form factor. No other design approach currently on the market allows for reliable contactless payment fully enclosed within the microSD.