Sony signs deal with Watchdata to bring NFC to more mobiles
14th Dec 2012 | 13:00
Expect mobile payments to take off
Sony obviously thinks mobile payments are the way forward. It's signed a deal with smart card specialist Watchdata to bring NFC (Near Field Communications) tech to more mobile devices.
Sony will integrate Singapore-based Watchdata's contactless tech into SIMpass solutions starting next year. SIMpass is a SIM card-based mobile payment technology that operates without the need for additional antennae.
According to the deal, Sony and Watchdata will develop NFC for a "wider range of mobile phone handsets". It should mean devices don't need any separate hardware to let you pay.
Sony already has its own contactless tech, named FeliCa, which it uses in its mobiles in Asia. It's supported by a number of operators there, too. It's mostly used to provide digital tickets for public transport, as well as authorising mobile payments.
"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 the FeliCa business division within Sony. "The agreement with Watchdata allows us to adapt FeliCa technologies to more handsets and expand global market presence."
As of July this year, Sony says it has more than 605 million FeliCa chips in devices worldwide, a third of which are in mobiles. SIMpass, meanwhile, is mostly used across Thailand and China, and has around 6 million mobile users.
There's no word on what Sony's plans are for its devices in the west. But considering it recently overtook HTC to become second in the UK in sales of Android devices, we're expecting big things next year.