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Wade Garcia & Associates, InCom enter licensing agreement for RFID attendance-taking system ••• iDTRONIC releases new handheld RFID computer ••• STMicroelectronics' NFC technology powers new TCL communication smartphone ••• Balluff magnetic mount simplifies RFID integration ••• Electric Imp intros cellular IoT service ••• Quuppa to host partner event for indoor location services.
By Rich Handley

STMicroelectronics' NFC Technology Powers New TCL Communication Smartphone

STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor company serving customers in electronics applications, has announced that its Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is powering the contactless features of TCL Communication's newly launched Alcatel 3V smartphone for the European market.

TCL Communication selected ST's NFC controller chip for its technology that boosts RF performance without draining battery life. ST's technology allows connectivity for contactless payments, e-ticket transactions, peer-to-peer data transfer and emerging use cases, such as interacting with "physical Web" objects like smart posters and store shelves.

"We are pleased to partner with ST to equip Alcatel 3V with reliable and secure contactless connections for our customers around the globe and to provide even richer experiences and superior interoperability throughout the numerous contactless terminals in their everyday lives," said Stefan Streit, TCL's general manager for global marketing, in a prepared statement. "The support provided by ST and the highly effective collaboration between our technical teams helped us quickly achieve the applicable certifications for the Alcatel 3V."

"The high RF performance of ST's NFC solution maximizes freedom and flexibility to optimize new product designs," said Laurent Degauque, the marketing director of ST's Secure Microcontroller Division, in the prepared statement. "Leveraging that flexibility effectively streamlined NFC integration on the Alcatel 3V smartphone, ultimately ensuring shorter time to revenue for our customer, TCL Communication."

ST and TCL intend to extend their collaboration to integrate ST's hardware digital-security solutions into future TCL Communication products. ST offers miniaturized, low-power chips, including an embedded Secure Element (eSE) for cryptography and key storage and combined NFC/eSE devices, which are certified to Common Criteria EAL5+ and EMVCo security standards for financial applications. ST also provides a range of solutions and form factors for eSIM.

The ST21NFCD integrates an NFC controller and RF circuitry that meet NFC Forum type 1-5 tag specifications, ISO/IEC 18092 NFC Interface and Protocol (NFCIP), and RFID and payment standards, including ISO 15693, ISO/IEC 14443 Type A & B, JIS X 6319–4 and MIFARE. ST's active load modulation technology leverages synchronization with a reader's RF field to boost signal strength and ensure reliable coupling during data exchanges, according to the company. This gives designers greater flexibility to use smaller antenna sizes and minimize system power consumption for longer battery life, while facilitating contactless transactions.

The ST21NFCD contains many integrated features that minimize circuit size and bill-of-materials costs. These include a clock generator (with the option to use an external reference clock or quartz crystal), as well as on-chip power-management and battery-voltage monitoring that boost energy efficiency and extend run-time. Integrated eFlash with a secure firmware update mechanism also provides flexibility to apply upgrades and security packs over the air.

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