NXP, Sony forming JV for contactless ICs

November 20, 2006 – NXP Semiconductors (nee Philips Semiconductors) and Sony Corp. have agreed to set up a joint venture to develop secure chips for contactless smart card applications. NXP and Sony will individually offer chips and applications based on their respective technology platforms, MIFARE and FeliCa, while continuing to jointly develop NFC technologies, which combine contactless identification and interconnection technology to enable wireless short-range communication between mobile devices, consumer electronics, PCs and smart objects.

Combined with an NFC chip for contactless identification and interconnection, the technology can create a universal contactless IC platform for mobile phones, the companies said. The technology will be build with both MIFARE and FeliCa operating systems.

“Combining MIFARE and FeliCa contactless technologies in a single chip opens a vast array of opportunities for consumers using the technologies, as well as for developers creating new applications for global markets,” said Marc de Jong, EVP and GM of NXP Semiconductors, in a statement.

Hiromasa Otsuka, Sony corporate executive and SVP, pointed to eventual end-use applications such as touching a terminal with a mobile phone to access services. “Sony has established a contactless IC business model whereby mobile phone wallet services are deployed in multi-application, multi-handset and multi-carrier modes,” he said, adding that the new JV “will introduce customers around the world to a new lifestyle.”

MIFARE is the most widely installed contactless smart card technology in the world with about 1.2 billion smart card chips and more than seven million reader modules sold, according to the companies. Current shipments of FeliCa ICs stand at 170 million units, 30 million of those used for mobile phones in Japan.


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