NFC Forum compliance?

  • So having been pretty committed to NFC (I have a mifare ultralight tag from dangerousthings implanted in my left hand) I have had to do a fair amount of research.

    I have tested my implant android phones, windows mobile phones, blackberry. I have access to 50+ phones at any given time and have tested multiple chip types on many of them. Sadly my implant only works on NXP based phone reader which many new phones don't have.

    Compatibility basically comes down to which chipset the phone uses to read chips. Most phones have either a broadcom or NXP based NFC chipset. Most of small form factor NFC tags in the wild (including the one in my hand) are Mifare ultralights which sadly do not conform to the NFC Forum spec. As a result of this only readers with NXP chipsets can read them.

    Many new and popular phones like the Nexus 4 and Nokia Lumia have chipsets which only adhere to the NFC Forum spec and are unable to read data from the NXP Mifare chips. (I can only assume there are legal reasons to not support Mifare but this seems a topic of much speculation)

    Currently the only small form factor NFC chip in the wild that I have tested that appears to work on every device (NFC, NXP, various Arduino NFC shields, usb readers, etc) is the NTAG203 which is NFC Forum 2 compliant, though much harder to find currently.

    Amal of ran into these headaches as well and is in the process of switching over to an NTAG203 to address compatibility issues with the current line of implants. I tested a friends NTAG203 prototype and can confirm it seems to be readable by every device he has thrown at it and Amal has somehow packed the antenna small enough to be the same tic-tac size as the old mifare ultralight based implants.

    So the big question is: Will the NFC ring be Mifare or NTAG203... or is it something from scratch and if so is it Forum compliant?

    Perhaps this was discussed elsewhere and I just missed it.

  • Community Helper

    Hi Irvick, I'm surprised this has so many views and no reply yet.
    On the front page of the kickstarter listing the NFC Ring component diagram shows that the NFC Inlay has an NTAG203 chip.
    Limitations in nfc devices reading capabilities for non-adherent tags is possibly more to attempt to push out the non-compliant items and promote the use of fully compliant ones. That and building in compatibility for non-compliant devices can be an irritating and unnecessary headache when the reason for the standard is so that everything is, well, standardised.
    Motorola's radio division is one of the worst offenders in this continually adding 'Motorola only' functionality into accessories which should be conforming to a standard and which renders them almost unusable in any other setting as a for-instance.

  • I totally missed that when I was reading everything. My bad!

    This kind of feels like any technology standards war then. Those using Broadcom chipsets probably could support mifare chips, but they don't for the same reason I typically don't bother with the extra headaches of supporting Internet Explorer in web applications. There is a standard. If X vendor is not using it, then that is not my problem and people will migrate to compliant software/hardware eventually. Makes sense.

    Anyway, thanks for the response. :)

  • NFC Ring Team

    This is documented elsewhere quite extensively(and Amal has some of our prototype and production inlays) but it's NTAG 203.

    We don't use any propriatory tech at all, it's all open source goodness :)