updated 10:55 pm EST, Mon November 14, 2011
Samsung preps Secu-NFC for phones, tablets
Samsung late on Monday brought out a new NFC (near-field communications) chip that promised a tougher level of security for paying through a smartphone even as it became more elegant. The Secu-NFC, known also as the SENHRN1, borrows technology from smart cards and "advanced" encryption to keep payments, such as tapping the phone at a subway turnstile, safe. As a system-in-package, though, it doesn't need to consume as much space as a completely separate NFC chip, improving the footprint in the tight spaces of a smartphone.
A chip also builds in 760KB of storage, which while not much compared to elsewhere is enough to load all of a user's credit cards, virtual cash balances, and other basic data. It can even work if a phone is completely without power and work with U-SIM cards that might have their own separate account information.
Samsung is providing test samples of the Secu-NFC today to customers. Although it didn't name its partners, the remarks hint the chip will be used beyond Samsung itself.
Only a handful of companies are currently using NFC in phones, where Samsung currently dominates just by launching the Nexus S, the AT&T Galaxy S II, and the upcoming Galaxy Nexus. RIM has NFC in the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Curve 9360. Apple skipped on NFC for the iPhone 4S, but it has been applying for NFC-aware Macs that would need matching iOS devices for it to truly work.