by CIO Staff

Sony, NXP Plan Contactless IC Chip Venture

Nov 20, 20062 mins
Data Center

Sony and NXP Semiconductors have reached a basic agreement on forming a joint venture to develop, manufacture and sell chips that combine Sony’s Felica and Philips’ Mifare contactless smart card platforms. NXP was spun off from Philips in September.

Mifare is widely deployed around the world with about 1.2 billion chips and more than 7 million reader modules sold, while shipments of Sony Felica chips have reached 170 million, of which about 30 million are in cell phones. Many of the remainder are used in transportation passes and security cards.

The two systems are incompatible, so a chip combining the two and other formats could help drive adoption of contactless smart card systems for applications and make possible terminals that would work with systems based on both formats.

In particular, the two companies hope to develop a universal contactless IC platform for cell phones. That would mean that advanced features in cell phones, like electronic payment, would be able to work across borders where different platforms might be in place.

Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding, the two companies will establish the joint venture by the middle of next year, they said.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)

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