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Exclusive : ST-Ericsson To Integrate NFC Features Into its Platforms

ST-Ericsson's Chief Chip Architect & Principal Fellow, Louis Tannyeres, has told in an exclusive interview that the company will integrate NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities in its platforms alongside other connectivity functions without giving more details about a release window.

The company already announced new connectivity products, such as the world’s first GPS/GLONASS receiver, earlier this year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

STMicroelectronics, which owns 50 percent of ST-Ericsson, signed a strategic agreement earlier in March 2011, with French NFC giant, Gemalto to work closer on NFC & wireless solutions.

Tannyeres explained that putting NFC on the application processor would be counterproductive since it would add to the complexity of the product and lengthen the time to market of products (in a segment where the validation process take longer than actually making the parts) without a significant impact on the production costs.

ST-Ericsson is a key supplier to Nokia, Samsung Mobile and Sony Ericsson and Tannyeres confirmed that Nokia will be using the U8500 in a forthcoming handset with more big players signing up for the hardware platform.

The ST-Ericsson's CCA would not give out the names of other customers, preferring to leave that to the mobile manufacturers themselves; he did say that more than one U8500-based smartphones - targeting the mid-range to lower high end segment - would be launched by the end of the year.

While he wouldn't say whether Sony Ericsson may use Nova-based ST-Ericsson chips in future products (like the successor of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play), he did mention that the Nova A9600 is the only SoC announced to feature the Imagination Technologies PowerVR Rogue GPU.

According to ST-Ericsson's own benchmarks, Rogue is up to 20x faster than the Mali 400 GPU, which is used in the Exynos 4210 SoC that powers the Samsung Galaxy S II and which is at least as powerful than the Adreno 205 GPU found inside the Xperia Play.

In addition, Tannyeres said that samples of the Nova A9600 would be shipped to partners in the second half of 2011 with the first products based on the SoC available in the second half of 2012.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.