Mobile Distillery, which provides mobile application production tools and testing services, has revealed that it has played an integral part in the development of a solution that has the potential to turn Bluetooth-enabled handsets into fully-featured Near Field Communication (NFC) devices. As the lead of the project, Twinlinx, a developer of dedicated hardware for NFC mobile phones, selected Mobile Distillery for its technology leadership in helping the industry develop successful mobile applications.
Around the world, the companies note, many services are already using NFC to enable quick and simple transactions where users can simply swipe a card to pay for a train ticket or coffee. In countries like Japan, mobile phones equipped with NFC have become commonplace, with plenty of services emerging, which take advantage of the speed and convenience of NFC. Until now, the lack of NFC handsets has prevented these services becoming a worldwide phenomenon. According to the two companies, this new solution developed jointly by them, removes this barrier, allowing any Bluetooth-capable handset (approximately 60% of current devices) to also use NFC.
Using the existing ability of virtually any mobile handset to run software written in Java ME (J2ME), Mobile Distillery has worked with Twinlinx to create a Java ME layer which can access Twinlinxs Bluetooth NFC module named My-Max. This module which takes the form of a small sticker that fits on the back of the handset combines a Bluetooth receiver and NFC transmitter, as well as a chip which adds a layer of encryption, to ensure that any data sent using the module is totally secure.
The combination of Mobile Distillerys software layer and Twinlinxs hardware and firmware means that any developer who wishes to create applications and services which make use of NFCs unique benefits will soon be able to do so for almost any handset on the market, the companies say; all it requires is Bluetooth.
Taking advantage of Mobile Distillerys automated porting suite, Celsius, developers of NFC content and services can ensure automatic porting of their applications across all compatible NFC mobile handsets listed in Mobile Distillerys Celsius database of around 1,000 handsets, from one Java ME source code. These NFC applications will also be automatically ported to enable Bluetooth handsets.
Celsius automatic backfilling also means that the applications will be automatically compatible with all new NFC and Bluetooth handsets as they come to market. The platform means that all developers, not just NFC or Bluetooth experts, can easily develop NFC and Bluetooth applications using Celsius because it self-manages high level APIs.
A lot has been said about the potential for NFC technology to transform the way we use our mobile phones, but while the technology is out there, the lack of handsets has been the problem, says Twinlinx Founder and CEO, Jacek Kowalski. Coupled with this, fragmentation of NFC technology further hinders the deployment of mobile NFC. The solution we have created with the Mobile Distillerys expertise in mobile technologies means that, overnight, there are more than a billion handsets out there that can use NFC, rather than just tens of millions. This is a game-changer for NFC technology.
The first My-Max prototypes will be demonstrated at the 'CARTES + IDentifications' trade show in Paris, France, from 4-6 November on the Twinlinx stand - 4M 111.