LAS VEGAS — Tired of toting a wallet full of credit cards? The electronics industry may have a solution for you.
Electronics companies at CES said they are working on a novel idea that would use existing technology to enable users to pay for items with their phones, instead of their credit cards.
Near-Field Communication (NFC) RF technology, which operates at 13.56 MHz and has a range of just a few inches, could allow users to hold a phone to a receiver at a department store or restuarant to pay for purchases without the use of a credit card.
NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips Semiconductors) demonstrated the technology at CES yesterday by holding a NFC-equipped phone to a hotel-type, video-on-demand payment computer and purchasing a video.
Simultaneously, Nokia announced here that it has rolled out the world's first commercial NFC-based handset, the Nokia 6131 NFC phone. Nokia said that the phone's technology would allow CES showgoers to swap business cards, collect product brochures, and buy coffee. By touching the phone to an informational kiosk, users could automatically link to interactive Internet-based information, or they could use security features in the phone to make contactless payments for products and services.
Thirty-four companies –including NXP, Sony, Infineon, TI,and Nokia – also participated in an NFC Forum at the Sands Hotel here.
NXP, which co-invented the technology with Sony, says that NFC is already compatible with contactless credit systems, and would therefore be relatively easy to implement.
"Industry has already taken up this technology," noted Robert Blake, a research scientist for NXP's Wireless Group. "So if you put it in a cell phone, it will work now."