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Renesas Introduces First Microcontroller Integrating Near Field Communication (NFC) and Security Functions for Smartphones

Thu, 12/09/2010 - 3:42am
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Renesas Electronics Corporation introduced the industry’s first product in the RF20 series of microcontrollers (MCUs), the RF21S, that combines on a single chip a near field communication (NFC, Note 1) controller supporting the ISO/IEC 18092 international standard along with secure element functionality for use in consumer electronic products such as smartphones and other mobile phones, notebook PCs, and PC peripherals.

The new RF21S MCU integrates on a single chip an NFC controller and security functions to enable the capabilities of financial transaction cards, transit system cards, and ID cards; and features an ultra-thin package profile only 0.22 millimeters (mm) thick by using wafer-process-package (WPP) on-wafer packaging technology.

NFC can be extended to cover a broad range of applications, including financial transactions, transit system payment cards, ticketing, and ID cards, and the market for this technology is expected to increase over the next few years. In recent years, adoption of mobile phones incorporating NFC functionality has expanded rapidly. However, conventional design configurations have required two separate chips for the NFC controller and security element, resulting in the need to reduce the mounting space. Furthermore, there is a demand for more processing power and the elimination of lag time when communicating with the secure element to reduce the transaction time for transit system ticket gates.

Features of the RF21S MCU include:

(1) NFC and security functions on a single chip The RF21S MCU integrates Renesas Electronics’ RS-4 secure MCU, an NFC controller, and security functions. Bringing together on a single chip the functions needed in financial transaction cards, transit system cards, and ID cards make it possible to develop and evaluate systems more efficiently. In addition, support for MIFARE™ (Note 2) is planned for the RF21S MCU. The single-chip configuration eliminates the need for communication with an external secure element, shortening the time required for gate transactions in transit systems. The RF21S MCU also incorporates measures to thwart security threats such as forgery and tampering, and EMVCo security certification (Note 3) is expected to be obtained soon for the RF21S device.

(2) Ultra-compact package for reduced mounting space As mobile phones integrate more and more functions, the space available for mounting semiconductor devices becomes ever more limited. In response, the RF21S MCU uses Renesas Electronics’ exclusive package technology to achieve an ultra-thin profile (package thickness: 0.22 mm) that allows for more efficient mounting design in mobile phone handsets and other compact devices.

(3) Software Support - Renesas Electronics plans to supply developers of products such as mobile phones with embedded devices with the software (communication library, host controller interface (HCI), etc.) needed to implement NFC functionality. The company participates in “Plugfest,” an interoperability test event held by the NFC Forum (Note 4), and makes every effort to develop and supply software that customers can use with confidence. Support also will be available from third-party vendors for middleware required by the host, such as the baseband processor and application processor.

Renesas Electronics will continue to develop and supply new MCU products in the RF20 series in response to evolving market demand, including products with larger memory capacity, more peripheral functions, and better performance and functionality for high-end applications, and low-cost products for low-end applications.

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