Sony has showcased its commitment to mobile payments, with the company signing a deal with smart card specialist Watchdata to bring NFC (Near Field Communications) technology to more smartphones.
The electronics company will incorporate Watchdata's contactless technology into SIMpass solutions, which is set to commence during the opening stages of 2013. SIMpass is a SIM card-centric mobile payment technology that functions without the requirement of additional antennae.
Sony and Watchdata will develop NFC for a "wider range of mobile phone handsets". What this means for consumers is the ability to make mobile payments without the need for separate hardware. The company could initially incorporate the system into its rumored Odin device, and Yuga, with the firm expecting upwards of 50 million Xperia smartphone sales in 2013.
FeliCa, contactless technology already utilized by Sony, is integrated into its mobiles in Asia. It's predominately utilized to authorize mobile payments and provide digital tickets for public transport.
"The commercially proven security and performance of FeliCa is something we want to aggressively promote in the growing NFC ecosystem," said Mario Manabe, senior general manager of Sony's FeliCa division. "The agreement with Watchdata allows us to adapt FeliCa technologies to more handsets and expand global market presence."
Sony stressed that it has more than 605 million FeliCa chips installed in devices worldwide as of July, 2012. A third of that figure is associated with mobiles, while SIMpass is mainly used across Thailand and China, with a user base of around 6 million.
"No judge, I was not touching the ol' lady inappropriately; I was just trying to read her smart card".
Here in Hong Kong I have an Octopus keychain (FeliCa-based) I keep in my purse and I have to take it out every time because the purse is too much material for the signal to get through, even when it is at the very top of it (1 layer).
I would love it if more tablets and smartphones got FeliCa (like the Nexus 7) rather than NFC (NFC is nice though) because it is already a standard in Asia.