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 NFC Technology Part of Qualcomm 3G Handset Reference Designs,
Qualcomm Makes Strategic Investment in INSIDE Contactless
AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France - LONDON, United Kingdom, FEBRUARY 11th, 2009- INSIDE Contactless, a leading provider of advanced open-standard contactless chip technologies today announced that it is working with Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) to accelerate the growth of the Near Field Communication (NFC) handset market by jumpstarting the product development cycle, speeding time to market and significantly reducing development costs.
As part of the collaboration, the two companies will develop two 3G handset reference designs—one each for UMTS and CDMA2000 networks—that combine Qualcomm’s Mobile Station Modem™ (MSM™) chipsets with INSIDE’s MicroRead® multi-standard NFC chip.
Additionally, Qualcomm Ventures has joined INSIDE’s other venture capital and strategic investors making an equity investment of €4 million (US$5.2 million), extending INSIDE’s series C Preferred funding round and bringing the total for this round to €31.7 million (US$41.2 million).
“Incorporating INSIDE Contactless’s NFC technology into 3G reference designs based on MSM chipsets will provide additional value to OEMs and ODMs, enabling them to more quickly bring NFC handsets to market,” said Len Lauer, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Qualcomm. “NFC’s convenience and ease of use for consumers has been shown in numerous technology field trials. We are working to help NFC gain traction among handset manufacturers by investing in, and collaborating with, leading technology providers such as INSIDE Contactless.”
The reference designs are expected to be available starting in the second half of 2009 and will be among the first NFC handset reference designs available to the market.
“This alliance is significant not only for our MicroRead NFC solution, but for NFC technology and the mobile payments market in general. We believe the availability of these reference designs will provide a significant boost to the deployment of NFC-enabled 3G handsets worldwide,” said Rémy de Tonnac, chief executive officer of INSIDE Contactless. “We look forward to creating these reference designs with Qualcomm and contributing our expertise and ideas to further the development of the emerging NFC ecosystem.”
According to de Tonnac, the availability of these reference designs will also likely encourage some handset makers to enter the market more quickly than they would if they had to develop this kind of solution themselves from scratch.
“By enabling secure contactless payments, NFC technology has the potential to become a major enabler of future mobile commerce applications,” said Frederic Rombaut, Director of Qualcomm Ventures Europe. “In addition to mobile payments, various applications such as transit, ticketing, discount coupons, mobile advertising and device pairing will help drive demand for NFC-enabled handsets.”
INSIDE Contactless played a key role in developing the ETSI NFC-related standard and has developed early implementations of these standards. The MicroRead IC multi-host router technology provides the capacity to enable any secure element architecture, including SIM, SE or SD card. MicroRead also implements modes such as self-powered “battery-off” and low-power card detection mode that provide better battery life for NFC-enabled phones.
About Qualcomm Ventures
Qualcomm Ventures launched its European investment activities in 2007 with a €100 million allocation. Launched in the United States in November 2000 with an initial US$500 million allocation, Qualcomm Ventures’ aim is to support Qualcomm’s mission of enabling and fostering 3G and wireless Internet markets through strategic investments in privately owned startup ventures. These strategic investments include companies focusing on wireless communication technologies and products serving consumer, enterprise and vertical markets worldwide.
About INSIDE Contactless
INSIDE Contactless is the global leader in open-standard contactless payment and Near Field Communication (NFC) semiconductors and software that power the next generation of payment, transit, identity and access control applications. The company’s intelligent, microprocessor-based platforms offer the flexibility to be embedded in smart cards, mobile phones and other consumer electronic devices, documents, badges and other items to support a wide range of innovative contactless applications and bring new levels of convenience to users. INSIDE has delivered more than 300 million contactless platforms worldwide to customers and partners that include many of the leading payment card and mobile phone manufacturers, systems integrators and financial institutions. With a portfolio of 60 families of patents, including several essential NFC patents, the company has played a leading role in NFC and contactless innovation. INSIDE is headquartered in Aix-en-Provence, France, with offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Warsaw, Seoul and Silicon Valley. For more information, please visit