Host card emulation enables NFC without a secure element

Filed in Technology by on April 2, 2014 0 Comments


Host card emulation enables NFC without a secure element

Many agree that NFC technology is yet to realize its full potential in the consumer marketplace, but a new piece of Android software could turn the tide and make way for a renewed NFC landscape. The forthcoming Android 4.4 operating system, more commonly referred to as KitKat, will push to Android devices everywhere complete with a technology known as host-card emulation. Host-card emulation is an alternative to standard NFC card emulation – a technology that already exists within a number of NFC-enabled Android devices. NFC emulation leverages a separate chip in the device itself called the secure element. Commonly, these secure elements come in the form of SIM cards provided by wireless carriers, or telcos. When NFC card emulation is conducted, the emulated card is provisioned into the secure element on the device via an Android application. When the user holds their device over an NFC terminal, the NFC controller in the device then routes all data from the reader directly to the secure element. With host-card emulation, however, this premise is taken a step further using a new method that does not involve a secure element at all. Instead, it enables an Android app to emulate a card and talk directly to the NFC reader, circumventing the traditional secure element altogether. “It is a technology built into a device’s operating system that enables a mobile device to emulate a payment or other card, allowing users to make NFC mobile payments and other proximity transactions,” explains Martin Cox, global head of Sales at Bell ID. – Source secureidnews – 2014

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