Twinlinx partners with Mobile Distillery to bring NFC to mass market handsets

Mobile Distillery, the specialist mobile application production tools and testing services company, has announced that it has been involved in the development of a solution that has the potential to turn Bluetooth-enabled handsets into fully featured near field communication (NFC) devices.

As the lead of the project, Twinlinx, a developer of dedicated hardware for NFC mobile phones, selected Mobile Distillery for its technology leadership in helping the industry develop successful mobile applications.

Around the world many services are already using NFC to enable quick and simple transactions where users can simply swipe a card to pay for a train ticket or coffee. In countries like Japan mobile phones equipped with NFC have become commonplace, with plenty of services emerging, which take advantage of the speed and convenience of NFC.

Until now, the lack of NFC handsets has prevented these services becoming a worldwide phenomenon. This new solution developed jointly by Twinlinx and Mobile Distillery removes this barrier, allowing any Bluetooth capable handset (approximately 60% of current devices) to also use NFC.

Jacek Kowalski, Twinlinx founder and CEO, said: “A lot has been said about the potential for NFC technology to transform the way we use our mobile phones, but while the technology is out there, the lack of handsets has been the problem. Coupled with this, fragmentation of NFC technology further hinders the deployment of mobile NFC. The solution we have created with the Mobile Distillery’s expertise in mobile technologies means that overnight there are more than a billion handsets out there that can use NFC, rather than just tens of millions. This is a game-changer for NFC technology.”

Using the existing ability of virtually any mobile handset to run software written in Java ME (J2ME), Mobile Distillery has worked with Twinlinx to create a Java ME layer which can access Twinlinx’s unique Bluetooth NFC module named My-Max. This module, which takes the form of a small sticker that fits on the back of the handset, combines a Bluetooth receiver and NFC transmitter, as well as a chip which adds a layer of encryption, making sure any data sent using the module is totally secure. The combination of Mobile Distillery’s software layer and Twinlinx’s hardware and firmware means that any developer who wishes to create applications and services which make use of NFC’s unique benefits will soon be able to do so for almost any handset on the market; all it requires is Bluetooth.

Taking advantage of Celsius‘s platform, Mobile Distillery’s industry-leading automated porting suite, developers of NFC content and services can ensure automatic porting of their applications across all compatible NFC mobile handsets from one Java ME source code. With this announcement, those NFC applications will also be automatically ported to enable Bluetooth handsets.

Celsius’ automatic backfilling also means that those applications will be automatically compatible with all new NFC and Bluetooth handsets as they come to market. The sophisticated platform means that all developers, not just NFC or Bluetooth experts, can easily develop NFC and Bluetooth applications using Celsius because it self-manages high level APIs.

Vincent Berge, co-founder and general manager at Mobile Distillery, added: “Today’s announcement should be an incredible boost to all of the companies involved in creating and deploying NFC services. While NFC devices are slowly coming onto the market, there’s a demand for handsets right now. By using the native Bluetooth capabilities of today’s phones, the biggest barrier to NFC really taking off is about to be removed.”