Study names Infineon the market leader in NFC security MCUs

IMS Research has published a study naming Infineon as the world’s leading supplier of security microcontrollers for NFC (Near Field Communication) applications. The study shows that Infineon holds a 51.5 percent share in the NFC security microcontroller market.
According to IMS Research data, the number of NFC-enabled mobile phones shipped in 2011 was 35 million globally and this figure is set to grow to 80 million by the end of 2012.  Showcase events, such as the Summer Olympic Games 2012 in London, will help to promote NFC technology and to demonstrate its benefits for mobile payment or access control, for example. By 2016, mobile payment should become the most popular NFC application by far.

IMS Research puts the number of Secure Elements shipped in 2011 for NFC-enabled mobile phones at 45.8 million. Embedded Secure Elements accounted for the lion’s share at 26.6 million units, while SIM cards and other solutions such as microSD cards accounted for 19 million units and 0.2 million units, respectively. IMS Research anticipates an average growth of 94 percent per annum for the NFC security microcontroller market from 2011 through to 2016. The share of Embedded Secure Elements, as the main security solution for NFC applications, is to extend to 49% by the year 2016, followed by the SIM card at 33%. The market researchers forecast that 44% of all mobile phones sold in 2016 will be NFC-enabled.

NFC contactless communication technology transforms smart phones and other mobile devices into wallets, tickets and keys. As a major supplier, Infineon has played a key part in shaping NFC market development and brings the security functions for contactless NFC applications to the mobile device in three ways: via a NFC security microcontroller for the SIM card, via the embedded Secure Element forming part of the mobile phone electronics, and via a Secure Element which can be implemented in a microSD card, for example. This makes Infineon the only semiconductor manufacturer in the world to providing such flexibility in implementing the NFC functionality. Infineon offers NFC solutions that fulfill the strictest requirements for security microcontrollers, including the Common Criteria EAL 5+ “high” international standard and the EMVCo (Europay International, Mastercard, Visa) approval. They’re suitable for all payment applications enabled by mobile devices over NFC.

Infineon’s NFC security microcontrollers are already used in most NFC-enabled smart phones.  For some NFC security microcontrollers, Infineon uses its multi-award winning “Integrity Guard” security technology developed specifically for applications such as mobile payment requiring a very high level of protection. This security technology means that the data is stored in encrypted form and remains encrypted for processing along the entire data path – CPUs, memories, caches and buses.

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