Published in Mobiles

MediaTek challenges NFC with HotKnot



No antenna or RF chip

NFC has been around for ages. The first high-profile phone to feature NFC was the Nexus S, launched in late 2010. However, adoption hasn't been as good as expected and NFC is still underutilised to say the least.

MediaTek thinks it can do a bit better. HotKnot is the name of MediaTek's new technology and it has a few advantages over NFC. It does not need an RF chip or antenna and it features a new capacitive touch driver which supports three sensors, a touch sensor, gravity sensor and a proximity sensor. The sensors work out when contact has been made and the driver takes care of the rest.

This means MediaTek can embed HotKnot in its chips, making the solution relatively cheap. The company says HotKnot can match NFC in terms of features, yet it is easier to integrate than NFC. For the time being MediaTek's focus is on China, which doesn't have many NFC-enabled phones, reports EET Asia.

MediaTek estimates NFC penetration in China at just 10 percent. Chinese consumers love great value for money and local handset makers are happy to oblige - and when they pinch pennies NFC is one tech that is usually crossed off the feature list. However, MediaTek says HotKnot will be "almost free" which means vendors will be able to integrated at next to no cost, which is still not the case with NFC.

MediaTek controls roughly 40 percent of the Chinese SoC market and it hopes it can get many hardware partners on board. Since the tech can be embedded, this won't really be up to phonemakers to decide - if they buy a MediaTek chip, chances are they'll get HotKnot as part of the package anyway. MediaTek is also touting HotKnot as an important tech for wearables.

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