Sony, Philips to collaborate on short range radio

Sony and Philips have announced they will work together to develop near field radio-frequency communication (NFC).

The technology will be embedded in mobile telephones, games consoles, smartcards and point-of-sales solutions, enabling transmission of data across distances of up to 20cm. It is compatible with Philips’ existing Mifare and Sony’s FeliCa contactless smartcard technologies. The solution will be aimed primarily at payment, ticketing and gaming applications. It operates in the 13.56 Mhz band and is not seen as a competitor to Bluetooth. It uses significantly less power than Bluetooth or 802.11b and transmits across a much smaller distance. Both Sony and Philips are vocal supporters of Bluetooth.

“This cooperation between Philips and Sony marks a breakthrough in establishing a new solution for an easy communication network between consumer electronic devices,” commented Mr. Yuki Nozoe, Corporate Executive Vice President, Sony Corporation. “Together with Philips, we will study a vast range of new applications for NFC, and we look forward to welcoming other electronics and service companies in support of the technology.” Karsten Ottenberg, General Manager of Philips Semiconductors’ Identification business, said: “This agreement will revolutionise the way consumers access services and see the penetration of identification chips move far beyond smart cards, with NFC becoming a standard component of new electronic devices, including those from Philips. It is another demonstration of Philips’ strengths in the area of connectivity, and what our technologies can bring to the consumer, at home, in the office, or on the move. With the CD Philips and Sony demonstrated what their cooperation can bring to the electronics industry – we look forward to the success of this partnership.”


Sony and Philips are hoping to address a market which does not require the 10m transmission radius supported by Bluetooth. Although both companies are leaders in the consumer electronics business, it is hard to see them winning widespread support for this technology. In a future where the smartphone is the most likely vehicle for any electronic ticketing and payment applications, Philips and Sony will struggle to achieve the vital momentum needed to get something like this off the ground. It is more likely the advances in battery technology and the efficiency of Bluetooth will render such technology obselete.

Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.

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