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Sony and Philips develop new wireless standard

Sony and Philips Electronics are to jointly develop a new short-range radio-frequency communication technology.

The Near Field Communication (NFC) technology will use a 13.56 MHz radio frequency band for wireless transfer of data between electronic devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, PCs and game consoles across a distance of up to 20cm.

A data transfer speed of up to 212Kbps means that NFC is compatible with Sony's Felica and Philips' Mifare contactless integrated circuit smart card technologies.

The Mifare system is used by Visa International Service Association for its credit card and transit card systems worldwide. Sony's Felica is used for transit card systems in China, Singapore and Japan. Sony also provides an electronic money system using Felica in Japan.

Sony and Philips hope NFC-compliant devices incorporating smart-key and smart card reader functions will be used for services such as payment, ticketing and accessing online entertainment game content. For example, when a user wants to purchase a concert ticket or music content using an NFC-compliant mobile phone, payment can be made by holding a smart money card near the phone.

"The NFC technology can replace infrared network technology or USB cables," Sony spokesman Naoki Fujita said. Sony and Philips hope to commercialise the technology by the beginning of 2004 and plan to invite other companies to develop NFC-compliant products, he said.

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