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Final NFC hits the consumer market

Today Google announced its NFC based mobile wallet for the Nexus S in New York. Therefore Google developed new applications using the embedded NFC hardware in the Nexus S, the PN65 from NXP. In the future, customers can use Google Wallet to pay (eg using a contactless creditcard) or redeem a coupon using Google Offers. The offer currently is limited to Sprint customers in the US. The trial will start in New York and San Francisco and will continuously be extended till fall 2011.

In order to make this project happen Google partners with FirstData who provides the TSM (Trusted Service Management) Infrastructure. The first player offering a service in the wallet it Citi-Bank, which has a contactless credit card (Mastercard paypass) in the wallet that allows customers to pay in less than a second at the POS. Additionally Google will provide a prepaid stored value account in the Wallet, which can be topped up with a credit card.

There are already a number of merchant that will accept this special wallet from Google such as Macy’s, Guess or Subways. Of course, the contactless credit card can be used at any store which has been acquired to accept Mastercard paypass. Currently there are around 300.000 Mastercard Paypass terminals in the field in the US.

This is actually the first time, that Google opens the secure element in its mobile device for contactless applications. So far the APIs to access the secure element are not available to developers. The main feature, sending APDUs from an Android App to the secure element was not possible so far, as the Radio Interface Layer (RLI) blocked this kind of communication. Thru modifications in the firmware it is already possible to access the embedded secure element through the contactless interface as well as enable Single Wire Protocol (SWP) support to use the SIM card as a secure element. Although the API will allow other service providers to access the secure element, without an application on the embedded secure element there is not much benefit. FirstData is responsible to up apps into the secure smartcard chip in the phone.

In order to enable the NFC card emulation functionality of the mobile phone, the screen of the Android device needs to be unlocked and a PIN code is required as well. Of course the contactless communication is encrypted.

Videos and Pictures from Engadget

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