Chip Makers Hope to Boost NFC With Open Source Push

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Inside Contactless and NXP Semiconductors this week made their respective APIs (application programming interfaces) for contactless payments available as open source code, hoping to give the sector a much-needed shot in the arm.

Both companies are developing chipsets for NFC (Near Field Communication), a wireless communication technology with a range of a few inches. It lets users, for example, pay for goods by simply waving their NFC-enabled handset in front of a contactless reader.

NXP and Trusted Logic, which develops software for NFC, have released an open-source API for Google's Android mobile OS. The goal is to drive the development of compelling applications that take advantage of NFC, according to a statement.

Inside is making its NFC software and API for Android available as open source on from May 15. It hopes the availability of the software as open source will lower the bar for phone makers to integrate NFC into their devices, according to a spokeswoman.

Both companies are hoping their own implementation of NFC will be the software of choice on Android-based devices, and they are separately planning to propose a reference implementation for the smartphone OS.

Inside's software also runs on Windows Mobile and Intel and Nokia's MeeGo.

A lack of integration into phones is holding back NFC. More phones that support NFC are expected to arrive in 2010, though not in large volumes, according to Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.

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