updated 05:20 pm EST, Wed December 1, 2010
Samsung intros NFC chip with flash, wireless
Continuing on its technolgy launches today, Samsung has revealed a new near field communications (NFC) chip designed for smartphones. The design is the first to have built-in flash memory and can be upgraded on the spot. Making the change would let phone creators adapt the chip to new formats and prevent them from being locked in.
Phones would also have the option of handing off an NFC connection to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, Samsung said. The trick would let devices pair up by getting physically close but transfer information over a more traditional and usually faster connection. Phones could either connect to peripherals like Bluetooth headsets or sync with computers just by getting close.
The component uses 20 percent less power than earlier designs and can be ready to connect even without actively receiving energy when idle.
Mass production of the NFC chip should start sometime in early 2011.
Samsung hasn't named customers beyond itself or any devices, but the timing may rule out the Google Nexus S, which should be the first Android phone with NFC support. Most expect Google to launch the Samsung-made phone within the next few weeks and possibly at or before CES in early January. Other Android phones are more likely and could include Samsung's own Stealth V.
Rivals could use the non-exclusive chip as well, such as Apple's iPhone 5 and future BlackBerry models. The chip would be advantageous for both as it could let them make a single variant that would support NFC around the world, such as Isis in the US, European equivalents and Japan's long-serving FeliCa.