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Sony signs NFC agreement with Watchdata

Sony has signed an agreement with smart card producer Watchdata to help combine its proprietary FeliCa contactless technology with the Singaporean firm’s SIMpass payment solution beginning in 2013. The effort will help Sony integrate its range of mobile devices with greater Near Field Communication (NFC) utility.

Both technologies are primarily used in East Asia, with SIMpass purported to have registered six million mobile payment users in the region. The new partners hope to capitalise on the increased proliferation of NFC, with Sony reporting that it shipped 605 million units of FeliCa IC Chips as of July this year, which were then incorporated in 403 million cards and 202 million mobile phones worldwide.

“The commercially proven security and performance of FeliCa is something we want to aggressively promote in the growing NFC ecosystem,” said Mario Manabe, Sony's senior general manager of the FeliCa business division.

“The agreement with Watchdata allows us to adapt FeliCa technologies to more handsets and expand global market presence," Manabe added.

The deal highlights the encroaching ubiquity of NFC-enabled products and services, which was recently demonstrated on the domestic front by the news that London buses are now supporting the contactless utility in compatible smartphones.