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Intel licenses NFC technology for its upcoming smartphone chip

Distant warning to ARM vendors
Wed Dec 14 2011, 11:34

CHIPMAKER Intel has licensed near field communications (NFC) technology to use in its chips.

Intel, which harbours ambitions of entering the smartphone chip business, has signed a deal with Inside Secure to use its NFC technologies in future products. The deal will see Inside Secure provide Intel with access to its Microread, Securead and Open NFC products.

Aicha Evans, VP and general manager of Intel's mobile wireless group said, "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."

Evans' comments highlight the impending explosion of NFC in mobile devices. It is not surprising that Intel wants its mobile chipsets to include NFC support as Google pushes its Wallet payment service.

Intel needs to launch a competitive smartphone chipset in 2012 with many devices in production if it is to have any chance of overtaking ARM vendors such as Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia. Windows 8 should help Chipzilla gain some tablet market share but the real gold is in smartphones, where questions still remain as to whether the broad application support afforded by Intel's x86 architecture is such a big selling point.

For Intel the tie-up with Inside Secure hints that the company is, at the very least, trying to come up with a chipset that has feature parity with its rivals. µ


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