SMARTSD, simplifying and expanding NFC usage, or so they hope. (via SD Association)
Just as IEEE sets many standards regarding electrical technology, SD cards also have their own association for standards. The SD Association is a global ecosystem made up of many professionals, which collaborate with one another to set technical standards regarding SD cards. This is needed due to the more than 400 different companies worldwide manufacturing SD cards, which can come in many different models. But, no matter the speed, capacity, or quality, we expect them to work with any of our devices that may use them.
The latest standard that the association has just adopted has been the Single Wire Protocol (SWP). This is a specification, which allows a smart phone's SIM card to communicate with NFC controllers. NFC, or near field communication, allows phones or tablets to communicate with other NFC enabled devices within a few centimeters of one another. Many have probably seen this technology on commercials or internet ads. For example, Samsung has an ad for the new Galaxy where two friends exchange photos by touching their phones together.
“Completing the enhancement to smartSD marks the achievement of a strategy announced in 2011 to find new markets that would benefit from SD standards. Adding smart-chip technology to microSD memory cards gives SD equipped smart phones and tablets new consumer conveniences whether they're connected to the internet or not. We know consumers want more flexibility to expand their storage needs, and a simple way to participate in a variety of value-added services offered by a variety of companies and institutions today,” said Brian Kumagai, president of the SD association.
NFC builds on the concept of RFID. Using small coils of wire the NFC chips can transmit and receive radio waves with embedded information. In phones, the NFC chip is going to be connected with the users SIM cards. The SIM card gives each individual using the technology a unique identity to decipher users through a network.
NFC in theory is a great technology. It can be very power efficient, which is one of the most important considerations when designing new phone technology. In addition, it is also a very safe technology. Due to users having to be very close to the other device to communicate with it (at least 4cm) it is very unlikely that a hacker would be able to access it. However, with the advantages and conveniences it offers, it has still been relatively slow to catch on with users.
Companies had very high expectations for NFC. Some were predicting implementing the technology in smart phones would eliminate cash and credit cards. One of the hopeful applications that has not yet caught on has been mobile payments. For instance, Google Wallet is a project that was launched in May 2011. To this day, it still an underperforming project and has failed due to stores lacking the correct hardware to allow mobile payments. The capabilities are still not implemented in all smart phones either. Furthermore, Apple is an open critic of NFC. As Craig Federghi, an Apple software engineer commented, “No need to wander around the room bumping phones.” What Apple instead has planned is what they call AirDrop and will be released with iOS 7. Although there are many critics against NFC, there is still time for it to become a more common tech. The SD association releasing this spec will allow any member to implement the standard into their SD cards. This can be possibly give NFC the boost it needs to get the tech out and into the hands of consumers.
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