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

Innovative On-wafer Packaging Technology Enables 0.22 mm Ultra-thin Profile

07 Dec 2010

TOKYO, December 7, 2010 — Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, today 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 electronics products such as smartphones and other mobile phones, notebook PCs, and PC peripherals.

 

The new RF21S MCU (1) 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 (2) 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.

The RF21S MCU provides the following features:

  • (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 makes it possible to develop and evaluate systems more efficiently. In addition, support for MIFARE™ (Note 2) is planned for RF21S. 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 RF21S.

 

  • (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 RS21S 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 the “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 will also be available from third-party vendors for middleware required by the host, such as the baseband processor and application processor. 

 

“Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., believes it is essential from the standpoint of the information distribution industry to achieve secure links between people, between people and devices, and between devices,” said Masao Gogami, General Manager, 2nd Module Development Department, Electronic Module Development Center, Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. “The new high-security NFC MCU developed by Renesas Electronics provides functions tailored for secure applications, and we have high expectations that it will play a part in a global platform for authentication devices.”

 

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

 

Exhibition at Embedded Technology 2010 and CARTES & Identification 2010

Renesas Electronics exhibited and demonstrated an Android™ mobile platform employing an NFC module (incorporating a Renesas Electronics NFC prototype chip) from Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., at Embedded Technology 2010 (ET2010) held in Yokohama, Japan, from December 1-3. The company will also exhibit it at CARTES & Identification 2010 to be held in Paris, France, from December 7-9.

 

Please refer to the separate sheet for the specifications of the new RF21S MCU.

 

(Note 1)

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity technology using the 13.56 MHz band.

(Note 2)

MIFARE is a registered trademark of NXP Semiconductors.

(Note 3)

EMVCo, owned by American Express, JCB, MasterCard and Visa, manages, maintains and enhances the EMV Integrated Circuit Card Specifications.

(Note 4)

Renesas Electronics is a Sponsor Member of the NFC Forum.

Pricing and Availability

Samples of Renesas Electronics' new RF21S MCU are scheduled to be available starting March 2011, with a suggested price of US$5. Mass production is scheduled to begin starting July 2011 with a combined volume of 1,000,000 units per month projected by January 2012. (Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice.)

 

About Renesas Electronics Corporation

Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723) delivers trusted embedded design innovation with complete semiconductor solutions that enable billions of connected, intelligent devices to enhance the way people work and live. A global leader in microcontrollers, analog, power, and SoC products, Renesas provides comprehensive solutions for a broad range of automotive, industrial, home electronics, office automation, and information communication technology applications that help shape a limitless future. Learn more at renesas.com.

(Remarks) All product and service names that appear in this press release are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.


The content in the press release, including, but not limited to, product prices and specifications, is based on the information as of the date indicated on the document, but may be subject to change without prior notice.