Inside Secure offers alternative Android NFC software stack

Inside Secure has released an open NFC software stack for Android that works with its chips and those of competitors

Inside Secure hopes to make it easier for Android phone designers to use its NFC chips -- or those of its competitors -- with the release of a version of its Open NFC software stack for Android.

Android 2.3 already includes an API (application programming interface) to read data from NFC (Near Field Communication) tags, and that API is already used by Google's Nexus S phone to read NFC smart tags.

So far, Android's NFC code only works with chips from one manufacturer, NXP Semiconductors, according to the Executive Vice President for Inside Secure's NFC business line, Philippe Martineau.

Adapting that code for other chips will be difficult, because its hardware-specific elements are scattered throughout the code, Martineau said.

Inside Secure hopes to make life easier for manufacturers of NFC chips or of new phones using those chips with its Open NFC software. The code has already been used in phones running other operating systems, and is already at version 4.2.

One of Open NFC's key features, said Martineau, is a hardware abstraction layer gathering together all the elements that need to be changed to make the code work with different chips. That will make it easy for other chip manufacturers to support the code, he said.

Now, Inside Secure has ported the software to Android. It will make Open NFC available for download from its website by the end of February under the Version 2.0 of the Apache license, the same license Google uses to distribute Android.

In addition to Android's API to read NFC data, Open NFC includes code to write data to smart tags, and to exchange data with NFC chips in other phones, acting as a kind of NFC router. When Android adds APIs for such functions it will be a simple matter to add a matching wrapper to the Open NFC code, said Martineau.

For now, Martineau is coy about which phone manufacturers plan to incorporate Inside Secure's NFC chips in their products.

"By Q2, there should be some partner announcements," he said.

Inside Secure is also behind another move to open up NFC and upset another market in which NXP has an entrenched position: it is part of the Open Standard for Public Transport Alliance pushing a new public transit payment card specification.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags consumer electronicsGoogleNetworkingPhoneswirelessAndroidComponentsInput-OutputInside Secure

More about ApacheGoogleIDGNFC

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Peter Sayer

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place