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NFC Phones on Shelves Later This Year

When RFID Update spoke with NFC Forum board member David Turner a few weeks ago, he predicted that commercially available NFC-enabled handsets would debut before year-end. Sure enough, today $6 billion Taiwanese device manufacturer BenQ announced that it will have a new NFC phone on shelves in just that timeframe.
Aug 28, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

August 28, 2007—When RFID Update spoke with NFC Forum board member and Microsoft executive David Turner a few weeks ago, he predicted that commercially available NFC-enabled handsets would debut before year-end. Sure enough, today $6 billion Taiwanese device manufacturer BenQ announced that it will have a new NFC phone on shelves in just that timeframe.

Called the T80, BenQ's forthcoming handset will feature NFC chip solutions from semiconductor giant NXP (formerly Philips Semiconductors), one of the leading NFC architects and evangelists. The T80 will actually store NFC applications on a removable SD memory card, whose chip is provided by NXP. Storing NFC applications on the removable card will enable consumers to move them to another NFC handset if they choose to change phones. BenQ indicates that the T80 will be the first phone to store NFC applications in such a way.

The company predicts that electronic transport ticketing and payment, access control for private security systems, and electronic wallet services are among the NFC applications for which the phone will be used.

BenQ will launch the T80 in its home market of Taiwan, where the company cites successful pilots and pent-up demand. "We're strongly encouraged by the demand generated by highly successful NFC trials in Taiwan -- from transportation to mobile banking and payment services," BenQ's Barry Dai was quoted in the release.

The T80 is reportedly the first phone to comply with the recently published NFC tag type specifications (see NFC Commercialization Reaches Key Milestone). It was in fact their publication that led Microsoft's Turner to predict rapid commercialization of NFC.

Recall that the tag types are four specifications with which a device must comply to earn NFC certification. The specifications are actually pre-existing proprietary protocols for which infrastructure is already installed. By requiring interoperability with each, the NFC Forum sought to both leverage existing infrastructure and spare it from obsolescence. Whereas today a Japanese consumer may be able to use her cell phone to enter the subway in Tokyo, she could not do so in London with the same phone. The tag type specifications effectively bring such disparate systems under one unified umbrella, allowing consumers to eventually use their NFC phones across multiple systems.

Read the announcement from NXP
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