Archive for the ‘On the job’ Category

Nexus S and Nokia C7: NFC-Single Wire Phones for the Mass Market

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

These days the press is full of articles with rumors about NFC in the new Samsung phone as well as the upcoming Apple products. I actually was missing detailed reviews of the Nexus S but also the claimed NFC functionality of the Nokia C7. So colleague of mine —Christian Kantner — and I, we spent some time on playing around with the phones and built a firmware for the Nexus S, that fully supports all NFC features, such as SWP.

Nokia C7

Let’s start off with the Nokia phone. We took the phone apart (see the pictures) to figure out, which chipset they use. The Nokia C7 comes with a PN544 from NXP. The device is ready for Single Wire Protocol support in order to use the UICC as the secure element.

Nokia C7 Disassembled

In order to enable this functionality, Nokia only needs to provide a firmware that comes with the according software stack. In this case, Nokia will use NXP’s FRI (Forum Reference Implementation), which is also used in the Google phone. Nokia has to provide the JSR257 (Java layer) in order to manage the reading/writing functionality of tags as well as the peer-2-peer mode. Depending on the configuration of the FRI, the phone can support SWP (= card emulation using a UICC). The C7 already provides JSR177 for J2ME applications to communicate with the UICC. So hopefully we will see a Nokia firmware update on the device soon.

Nokia C7 parts

Nexus S

So the Nokia looks fine, but what we found out about the Nexus S is even better. The Nexus S comes with a PN65N from NXP. This chip is a combination of the PN544 and an embedded secure element (actually it’s a SmartMX).


You can see this on the picture in the Tear-Down of (=> Step 7, most right picture) very well. So the phone comes with everything we do need for card emulation – SWP and even a secure element within the phone.

But what about the software? Now, the good thing about Android is that everything is open source. This is also true for NXP’s FRI, which is a library in the GIT-Repository of Android. There you can follow the implementation of the NFC Stack and how it is glued into the operating system. When browsing the source code you can see that the flags for the internal secure element as well as SWP are disabled. The same is true for some very interesting APIs such as “mNfcAdapter.getSecureElementList()” in the Java Layer.

DIY-NFC Phone using the Nexus S

What did we do next: download the source (actually cyanogen mod 7), make the appropriate changes to the code, recompile everything and put it back into the phone and – tatata – it works: Nexus S supports card emulation with SWP. This took about some evenings/weeksends to understand how to setup the build environment and build the firmware.


We are now able to control the PN65N from an Android-App, very nice – but not enough. We need more, actually an API for accessing the UICC (secure element) – from an Android API. Luckily G&D already supports the development of a smartcard stack on Android (SEEK – Secure Element Evaluation Kit). This one is available for Android 2.2 and requires some adaption in Gingerbread to fit. After these changes we can have a fully featured NFC phone using the Nexus S Hardware. Nice isn’t it?

G^2 = G&D and Google

Now here is something interesting as well. When Android switched from 2.3.1 to 2.3.2, Google made some changes in the telephony API, which are required by G&D’s smartcard stack. The telephony API is used to send the APDUs through the RIL (Radio Interface Layer) to the UICC. (Actually Android 2.3.3 is not yet available on GIT, therefore we could not check what additionally changes there are). Out of these changes we assume, that Google is planning to integrate G&D’s smartcard stack in one of the upcoming version (2.4 or so).

G&D Smartcard Stack Integration

We are happy to give a live demo of the device next week at the MWC 2011 in Barcelona.

Trip to Padaborn

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

At the end of Juni I stayed two days with our Cooperation Partner COMPRION in Padaborn. There the 2nd COMPRION Technology day took place, where I gave a talk on the current status of standardization of NFC Technology.

Talents in Brussels and Gurus in Monaco

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

As usually by the end of April, I was heading for the WIMA-Conference in Monaco (oh my god, how can a trip to Monaco be something “usual” *g*. You know what, I really like it ;-) This time I actually had quite some things to do: making trainings and workshops, moderating sessions and giving some talks on NFC and applications. Like the other years, I met the whole NFC Community there. WIMA also featured the NFC Forum Global Competition, where friends of mine, Florian Research (servtag) and Stephan Karpischek (ETH Zurich) both won prizes in the research as well as the business track. Good Job Guys!

Before heading to Monaco, I spent two days in Brussels. I and 99 other “Talents” were invited by the Committee of Regions to participate in a dialogue on how Creativity and Innovation and related topics (like education etc.) can bring benefit so regions of the European Union, especially in an economic crisis like at the moment. I really enjoyed to see Brussels and how (parts of) the EU is/was working.


Thursday, March 26th, 2009

I spent the last week in Japan, Fukuoka. The reason for this trip was the ARES Conference, where I held a workshop on Contactless Security and Security in Sensor Networks. The conference was very nice, but as I stayed only for three days in Asia, jetlag hit me like a train.

Fukuoka itself is like Munich. A “small” town in the south of Japan, about two hours flying from Natrita, Tokyo. During the days staying the cherry trees started to flower beautfully and some people already celebrated the “Kirschblühtenfest” . I enjoyed experiencing this event.

Trip to Tokyo 2007

Back from BCN/MWC

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Last week I spent some days in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, as we (Dominik & I) were nominated for the SIMagine Award again. Even more successfully than last year, we won the Samsung bronze award and quite some money. Additionally I got a prize for one of my publications “NFC Devices: Security & Privacy” which was named by the Symbian Foundation as one of three very popular essays for the mobile industry. On Top, I was named as one of “Europe’s Young Talents” – a High Potential Network of the European Union. Thus I’m heading for a Congress in Brussel in April.

Voices from the press:

Be Famous!

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

This week I’m on the landing page of the world’s largest mobile application developer forum: Forum Nokia. Honestly, it feels great ;-)

The talk-to-the-Guru Session was also featured by, where I’m named as ‘one of the world’s best NFC minds’.

Widgets in Budapest

Friday, November 21st, 2008

This week I have been at the Forum Nokia Event in Budapest (HU). As usually, we have been spoiled by our host, while staying in the *****-Kempinsky – what else ;-) Great presentations from different speakers form Nokia and Nokia partners, a fabulous audience out of Nokia Champions (like me and Andreas), Nokia University Pro Members and Cooperating Partners of Nokia. Thus the networking factor of this four-day event was impressive. I don’t remember any event where I exchange that many business cards.

There have been several highlights like a sightseeing tour thru Budapest and a vine tasting event. On Wednesday there was the Code Camp Competition on Widgets among the Nokia Champions, which – tatatat – I won (too bad, isn’t it?). I got a brand new N85 which is the most current Nseries Device. To sum up: a great and successful week in a very nice city.

London, Prague, Nice & Munich

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

The whole September in one sentence: I was busy: Two times in London, a nice week at the Cote d’Azur/Nice, an exciting stay in Prague and the Oktoberfest in Munich. In London I held one workshop at the mobile NFC and the other day I was at the Royal Holloway College in London (see Picture). It really was amazing there. On the way home, there was a chaos in Heathrow (as usually) and in the end I missed my plane (long story) and thus met Pamela in Frankfurt on her way home.

As last year I was in Nice at the Smart-Event. There I gave several presentations on NFC and the Research Topics we are looking into at Hagenberg. Prague was the Location of the SIMagine Conference 2008, promoting the largest SmartCard Developers Competition in the world. After our success last year, I was invited to give a talk on the whole process of the competition and some hint on how participate in the contest. Last but not least I was in Munich on Monday, meeting lots of friends at the Oktoberfest. After not being there last year, I was glad that it didn’t change too much. You’re still allowed to smoke there ;-)

ICMB’08 in Barcelona …

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Wow, looks like Barcelona is the place to be this year. It’s already my 3rd time I “had to” head for BCN. This time I presented a paper on “How to manage an NFC ecosystem” at the International Conference on Mobile Business (ICMB). The two-day event at ESADE was very nice. I met some colleagues from the ICMB last year in Toronto and the MCTA where I gave a talk in January this year.

Besides working very hard, I had a good time going shopping with Andrea. (She is already back from the USA and Mexico.) We also headed for the Champagneria, a tiny pub where only Champagne (at a very cheap price) is served. You defintitly have to go there, if you are in BCN (It’s in Carrer de la Reina Cristina; Yellow Line/Barceloneta).

Next stop: Cote d’Azur.

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

After a quite busy last week, the upcoming one, will be exciting as well. I’m heading for Monaco (WIMA). I’m actually giving a talk there in conjunction with the Nokia Forum presenting a new product (so tune in!). Besides that I do have the honor to chair the technical track as well as presenting one of our NFC projects during the in context of the NFC Forum Global Competition.

By the way: On May 1st the Wakeboard Saison 2008 starts at JetLake. Cu there!