Apple Stores, McDonalds also said to be receiving upgraded beacons, NFC terminals
Ahead of an expected announcement of an Apple-led mobile payments solution, there have been new reports that prominent retailers such as Disney Stores, McDonald's and Apple's own retail stores have joined the ranks of businesses receiving new, upgraded NFC readers and iBeacon sensors as required. The system, if successful, could offer a future alternative to the planned move to a "chip and PIN" credit- and debit-card system already widely in use in Canada and Europe.
Announcement could be delayed beyond Tuesday
Apple is starting a pilot program that will form partnerships with merchants, possibly involving a rewards program for its mobile payment system, sources say. One of the informers indicates that the InterContinental Hotels Group is one party involved in talks. The sources also remark, however, that Apple has only just begun hiring towards the project, and that while it could be announced tomorrow, it might be postponed until more partners have been signed and media coverage moves beyond iCloud's celebrity photo leaks.
Apple Stores, other locations already equipped for NFC
Apple's NFC-based mobile payments system will use tokenization, sources claim. The technology involves substituting debit and credit card numbers with complex, one-time codes. In theory, this ensures that even if transaction data is intercepted, it can't be used again. Tokens also have potential beyond payments, extending to areas like transit passes or physical security.
Apple planning 'tap-to-pay' for mobile devices
The Apple iWatch will come in two sizes, and use a curved OLED display, say sources for the Wall Street Journal. The people add that it will also include a variety of health and fitness sensors, and an NFC chip, like the iPhone 6. "NFC wireless is central to Apple's plans to incorporate so-called tap-to-pay into its mobile devices, allowing users to pay for goods and services using credit cards stored with iTunes," the Journal claims.
May confirm two important points
[Updated with video showing powered-on device] A new set of photos from Feld & Volk and well-known leak source Sonny Dickson show what appears to be a complete logic board for the iPhone 6. Significantly, the board contains both an NXP-made NFC chip and what's believed to be 16GB of Toshiba flash memory. Plans for NFC are now widely reported, and the photos may back a claim that Apple will retain 16GB as an option.
Evidence mounting that NFC may happen
Apple is indeed planning to incorporate NFC into the iPhone 6, using chips from Dutch firm NXP Semiconductor, say sources for the Financial Times. The technology is mainly expected to be used for mobile payments and ticketing, but might enable functions in an "Internet of things" (home automation) context. Both Apple and NXP have refused to comment on the matter.
Details of platform still under wraps
The next-generation iPhone should include NFC-based mobile payment technology, sources tell Wired. The magazine doesn't go into specifics, except to claim that the mobile payment system will be "one of the hallmark features of the device when it's unveiled on September 9." A past report from The Information suggested that there might be a "secure element" in the new iPhone that would safeguard financial information, presumably a reference to allowing Touch ID to verify NFC purchases using the secure enclave.
Could be warranted by Apple-devised mobile payment system
Apple is "likely" to build NFC technology into the iPhone 6, according to BrightWire. The newswire agency cites a source "close to the matter," who states that Apple has forged a deal with bank card company China UnionPay on a mobile payment service. Under that agreement, people should be able to use a combination of the UnionPay app and iOS' Passbook to make transactions at UnionPay's 3 million QuickPass point-of-sale terminals in China. UnionPay is developing a system that follows its PBOC QuickPass standard, compatible with iOS, and major Chinese banks have been invited to participate in the project. More significantly perhaps, the two firms are reportedly working on a mobile payment platform that can be used in Apple Stores.
Competitor to Nest build Aura, iBeacon- and NFC-powered room monitors
Allure Energy, which makes a smart thermostat to compete against the better-known Nest, has used its presence at CES to show off a new add-on to its EverSense system that employs Apple's Bluetooth LE-powered iBeacon technology. The new product, Aura, lets users adjust room temperature by simply coming within range of the iBeacon, such as entering a given room, carrying an iOS device. The system will then adjust the temperature to a pre-determined range.
Android app allows NFC payments, offers sticker for non-NFC devices
Vodafone has launched a mobile payments system in Spain, one which will be making its way to other areas of Europe in the future. The Vodafone Wallet, and first accompanying payment app Vodafone SmartPass, will be able to make payments using their Android smartphones, with funds being transferred from a nominated bank account.
May be first public use of Apple's NFC replacement, iBeacons
Though pundits and Android fans have often derided Apple for not including the technology known as "near-field communications" (NFC) into its products, the technology thus far has seen very limited use and slow growth. In part, the pressure put on Apple was designed to goad the company into kicking NFC into the mainstream. In response, Apple created an alternate technology it calls "iBeacons," -- and has quietly used it for possibly the first time in a new setup option for third-gen Apple TVs.
Apple pairs biometrics, NFC for security
A recently revealed European patent shows that Apple has been working on combining a fingerprint scanner with near-field communication technology, in a move that could catapult the Cupertino company to the forefront of mobile security. The patent describes an "electronic device with shared near field communications and sensor structures," and it came to light due to Patently Apple. At least one model of the next iPhone is widely expected to integrate a fingerprint sensor as a security measure, but Apple's patent seems to indicate that it is looking beyond just unlocking a phone.
Skip attaches to clothing for Moto X use without pin unlocks
Motorola has revealed its NFC key for the Moto X smartphone for automatic unlocking. The Skip, a bundle consisting of a thumb-sized clip and three Skip dot stickers, will allow the wearer to use the Moto X when it is nearby the device, without requiring the owner to enter a four digit pin or some other authentication in order to unlock the phone.
NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 keyring uses Windows Phone app for tracking location
Nokia is making an accessory for its Lumia device range that will help users find keys or other attached objects, according to a report. The "Treasure Tag," claimed to be launching in the next few weeks, will use a combination of NFC for initial pairing and Bluetooth signals to track the location of the tag in relation to the smartphone.
Improved GPU, IGZO display, more RAM, NFC, new camera, more
A leak of alleged "iPhone 5S" photos posted to Sina Weibo (China's Twitter-like social service), if true, would confirm much of what has already been guessed about the upcoming next iPhone model, which is widely thought to be a significant but incremental update of the iPhone 5. The specs, supposedly leaked from sources in the Chinese supply chain, add little to other reports except for the claim of a near-field communication (NFC) antenna in the body of the device and that it will use a lower-power IGZO display to aid battery life.
Samsung releases revised TecTiles NFC stickers for Galaxy S4
Samsung has released an updated version of its NFC tagging stickers that will work with the Galaxy S4. TecTiles 2 can be assigned individual on-device functions, like automatically updating Facebook and Twitter with a predefined status or muting all sounds, that are triggered when scanned by an NFC-enabled Samsung smartphone running Android. A pack of five updated TecTile stickers cost $15.
Mobile devices will be associated with letter V, L, F, and G
LG has teased that it could be showing off as many as four new smartphones at Mobile World Congress next week. A teaser video on YouTube shows a number of references to the word "Tag", as well as highlighting specific letters in words: The V in "The View," the L in "The Style," the F in "The Freedom", and the G in "The Greatness."
Go Mobile being tested in Utah, Oregon
US Bank is commencing trials of its Go Mobile payments service for mobile phones. Available in Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon, the bank will allow iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s owners to perform NFC payments, by encasing their phone with a specially created case with Near Field Communications chips embedded.
NFC, WiDi, Miracast accompanies content recommendations
LG has revealed more details about its range of televisions for 2013, ahead of CES. Adding to the announcement of Google TV-enabled screens the company has already shown, it has also opted to give more information on features the HDTVs will have, including NFC, Miracast, WiDi, and a new recommendation function.
Mobile connectivity main focus of LG AV systems
LG has announced a number of AV systems the company will be demonstrating at CES, alongside the recently-revealed Hecto Laser TV Projector. Of the five audio products that will be shown, two will use Near Field Communication (NFC) to connect to mobile devices, while Bluetooth connectivity is also prevalent among the remainder.
Card would pair with app, take place of other cards
It would appear that Google is planning to augment its NFC-based Google Wallet payment system with a physical component in the coming weeks. Images have emerged online purporting to show off the new Google Wallet Card, which would be tied to a user's Google Wallet account and take the place of any credit cards a user also has attached to that account. The news comes amid rumors that Google was planning to update its Google Wallet app to include iPhone support, even though there are no iPhone or iOS device models that support NFC.
Move to accept all credit, debit cards seen as main reason
Google Wallet has seen a 100-percent increase in use in the last few weeks. The company is putting the change in user numbers down to the recent revision of the app, with the addition of supporting all credit and debit cards available to customers, and an increase in locations across the US accepting NFC-based payments.
Panasonic brings the connected home to life through the cloud, NFC
Panasonic has expanded its Smart Home Appliance range with the arrival of full cloud support, NFC functionality and a new Android app [Free, Google Play. The range of connected appliances will include air conditioners, refrigerators, kitchen appliances and healthcare products. These join will join its NFC-enabled microwave oven and rice cooker that can have programming instructions for recipes found online automatically enabled with the swipe of a NFC-enabled Android smartphone.
Charlie Miller highlights security flaws in NFC devices
A software security researcher has used the 2012 Black Hat security conference to demonstrate NFC security vulnerabilities in both Android and Nokia smartphones, according to CNet. Security expert Charlie Miller showed how NFC tags can be used to direct users to a maliciously crafted websites without a user's consent. A hacker could, for example, replace an NFC tag embedded in a billboard ad designed to give a customer more information about a product to carry out the attack.
Initial roll-out in Poland this year, Germany to follow
MasterCard and Deutsche Telekom will enable smartphone payments in Germany and Poland in the near future. Near Field Communication-based payments will be pushed through to T-Mobile customers in Poland by Q3 and to Germany by 2013, ahead of a potential rollout in other European regions.
Customizable NFC tags can launch apps, change phone settings
Samsung has launched a new near-field communication (NFC) technology, dubbed TecTiles. The system allows users to interact with their phones using only a tap of the phone against a tag. Users can install the programmable NFC tags in any number of places, allowing them to automatically execute actions on their smartphones and other devices instead of navigating a user interface to accomplish tasks.
Lovefilm to stream Universal Pictures films in the UK
Lovefilm has signed a multi-year agreement with NBC Universal to stream Universal Pictures films to its Lovefilm Instant users. The addition of Universal extends the roster of films that currently includes movies from Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Entertainment One, and Studio Canal. The streaming agreement would help the Amazon-owned movie rental company fight off Netflix, which launched in the UK in January.
First NFC standard amongst multiple vendors, banks
On May 7, Mastercardconfirmed the first details of their near field communication (NFC) payment service. Known as PayPass Wallet Services, the new global offering for banks, merchants, and other partners intends to make it easier to make purchases in stores or online both with a mobile phone as well as secure internet purchases.
V.me by Visa coming to the UK, Spain, France
Visa Europe on Monday revealed that its V.me by Visa digital wallet service will launch in the fall in the UK, Spain, and France. At the same time, payments processor WorldPay will be a key development partner of the platform in the UK. More partners, such as banks and retailers, will be named before the autumn.
Canada close to standardized NFC payment system
Canada is leading the race to develop a fully integrated NFC smartphone payment system according to Reuters. While NFC systems have been set up in other countries for commuters, Japan and South Korea being examples, no country has yet been able to establish more comprehensive transaction system for wider use. Canada is said to have more mobile-ready contactless payment machines installed throughout the country per capita than any other country.
Nokia gives Orange first taste of Lumia 610 NFC
Nokia has unveiled a new version of its Lumia 610 Windows Phone for Orange that also packs NFC support. Until now, the feature has been reserved for handsets higher up in its Lumia range and is the first time it has appeared on its entry-level Lumia smartphone. Nokia says that it has built-in the necessary hardware and software enablers for the implementation of NFC payment and ticketing solutions, while it also compatible with both Mastercard and Visa's POS NFC devices.
Search giant continues Google Wallet push
Google has announced that it has moved to acquire TxVia, a company that specializes in mobile payment processing technology. In a statement, the search giant notes that the buyout will help the company "accelerate innovation towards our full Google Wallet vision," though the exact terms of the deal have yet to be publicly disclosed.
T-Mobile USA sued for selling NFC-ready phones
Chip-based smart card maker On Track Innovations has sued T-Mobile USA because it sells phones equipped with NFC chips. OTI claims such phones violate its patents, though why it doesn't sue the makers of the phones themselves or other carriers that sell the very same phones in some cases isn't known. The lawsuit was filed in a New York federal court, though details such as the amount of damages or a licensing agreement sought haven't been revealed.
Basic phone sports 3.7-inch display
An official image of Sony's MT27i smartphone, codenamed the Pepper, has made its way to the public eye. The Chinese blog IT168 has posted a photo of the entry-level smartphone. Although news of the Android device was leaked shortly before the CES show in January, Sony has divulged no planned date for its release.
Isis partners with payment hardware makers
Isis, which is due to kick off this summer, has now secured cash register and payment hardware makers VeriFone, Ingenico, ViVOtech, and Equinox Payments as partners. They have vowed to integrate the Isis Mobile Commerce Application wireless payments technology into their future products. Isis will use NFC technology for payments, digital couponing, location-based social media offers, and more. It's a competitor for Google's Wallet offering.
Unveils 2012 Olympics' mobile pay app with Visa
Samsung has launched two new initiatives to encourage the usage of NFC mobile payment solutions. The phone and tablet maker has unveiled its official mobile payment app for the upcoming 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games in London later this year. Samsung also announced that it will work with FeliCa to design NFC compatible chip solutions supporting mobile wallet apps for mobile devices in Japan.
LG unveils Tag+ ahead of WMC, pushes NFC
LG has unveiled its Tag+ with NFC ahead of the World Mobile Congress. Very similar in concept to the Sony Xperia SmartTags revealed at CES 2012, LG’s Tag+ allows users to take advantage of the NFC technology in its new Optimus LTE Tag to automatically set the phone into user-preset modes. In the example seen in the photo embedded below, LG demonstrates how the NFC-equipped version of the Optimus LTE smartphone can be toggled into car mode, just by placing the phone near the tag for the setting to be applied.
Google working quickly to fix bug
Researchers at security firm Zvelo have released details surrounding a Google Wallet vulnerability that is claimed to leave a user's PIN data exposed. Engineers were reportedly able to develop a crack that quickly determines a user's four-digit PIN, which serves as an essential security layer to prevent the NFC system from transmitting card data without authorization.
PayPal mission not fazed by CEO departure
Despite the abrupt leaving of its CEO in January, PayPal is unfazed in its mission to make money off in-store payments, AllThingsD learned. Owned by eBay, the outfit had a number of demonstration set-ups of a grocery store, hardware store, and clothing store. In the San Jose area, PayPal has working registers set up in numerous Home Depot locations as part of a pilot program.
Public rollout follows Telefonica trials
RIM has announced that it has teamed with Turkish carrier Turkcell to launch a NFC payment system. The mobile wallet application will initially be available on the BlackBerry Bold 9900, enabling users to make payments by tapping the handset against MasterCard PayPass readers throughout the country and abroad.
Code to help non-Nexus upgrades to ICS
Inside Secure has released an update to its open-source Open NFC protocol stack for Android 4.0. Although Google has already created its own code for NFC on the Galaxy Nexus, the Open NFC stack is expected to ease the Ice Cream Sandwich update process for other NFC-equipped Android handsets.
Form consortium to coordinate efforts
Japan's three largest wireless carriers are uniting to ensure NFC standards compatibility. NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, and SoftBank are establishing the Japan Mobile NFC Consortium to coordinate the adoption of multiple international standards for NFC technologies used in their mobile devices and services. By doing so, the three hope to be able to offer lower-cost NFC services to both Japanese residents ans international visitors.
Intel to buy NFC chips, tech from Inside Secure
Intel is taking new steps in its mission toward incorporating NFC chips in its own products, now teaming up with France's Inside Secure, a maker of near-field communications radios. While details of the deal weren't made public, Intel's Mobile Wireless Group will have access to Inside Secure's software, firmware and core hardware technology. With NFC use already on the rise, a proponent the size of Intel can only speed up its availability and adoption further.
Inventor received first RFID patent in 1973
Charlie Walton, an inventor who pioneered RFID technology, has reportedly passed away at the age of 89. Walton had worked to develop RFID technology for several decades, receiving his first patent related to the wireless technology in 1973. He eventually amassed more than 50 patents, bringing in royalties to his Sunnyvale, California-based company Proximity Devices.
NFC-enabled SIM cards headed for mobile phones
The GSMA have announced that 45 of the world’s major carriers have committed to supporting SIM-based Near Field Communications (NFC). Among the carriers to pledge their support of the new standard are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, China Mobile and China Unicom, Vodafone, and Telefonica. In making the announcement, the GSMA have now published (PDF) a new set of industry specifications to further accelerate adoption of the technology.
Leak sheds light on two upcoming updates
Nokia is reportedly readying two significant updates to its Symbian operating system, enabling handsets to take advantage of the latest hardware features. Screenshots posted on the Spanish-language site SymbianLatino suggest the releases will follow the company's tradition of using female names as monickers, with the first update labeled Carla and the next version referred to as Donna.
Intel and MasterCard will bring NFC to ultrabooks
Intel and MasterCard on Monday announced a partnership for NFC on computers that would make online shopping more secure and a better overall experience. Users of ultrabooks are targeted, but future Intel-powered PCs will also benefit from the multi-year agreement, the companies said. The undertaking will focus on bringing MasterCard's NFC-based PayPass technology and Intel's Identity Protection Technology to Ultrabooks.
PayPal uses P2P protocol to enable local exchanges
PayPal has announced that it has updated its PayPal Android app (free, Android Market) to version 3.0. In doing so, it has taken advantage of the P2P protocol within the NFC framework to enable friends to be able to tap their phones together to pay each other. The function is similar to its pre-existing Bump capability, but is now a much more direct action.
Finally released after 10 RC iterations
Linux 3.1 has progressed from a release candidate to a stable version . Linux's creator, Linus Torvalds, after 10 earlier candidates, has finally frozen the OS and made it available for download (free, GIT version). Key features of the latest version include support for NFC chips and Wii Controllers.
NFC revision allows peer-to-peer message sending
The NFC Forum, an industry association devoted to Near Field Communications (NFC) tech, has just revised its specs, adding a new exchange protocol. Dubbed Simple NDEF Exchange Protocol (SNEP), it allows sending and receiving messages between two NFC-enabled devices. This is an extension of the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF), which was only applicable to NFC tags in the past.