Samsung develops RFID chip for mobile handsets

Samsung has developed an RFID reader chip it hopes will turn mobile phones into more useful tools for people.

Samsung Electronics has developed an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip it hopes will turn mobile phones into more useful tools to tell people about the products and services they want.

Samsung's principal innovation in this area has been to design an RFID reader chip that can read different types of RFID tags. Normally, it takes more than one chip to read different kinds of RFID tags. The new chip will one day find its way into handheld devices, such as mobile phones, although the company did not say when that would happen.

When it does, people will be able to read RFID tags on products and other items meant to make the world an easier place to navigate. For example, some RFID tags on food or medicine products might give information on ingredients or dosages, while RFID tags at bus stops can offer schedules or tell when the next bus will arrive.

The usefulness of RFID chips will grow as more companies put information on RFID tags and other devices meant for the technology. In Taiwan, for example, one local mobile network operator plans to work with movie theaters to put movie times on RFID tags in movie posters, so people can check on times while riding the subway or in popular shopping areas.

But the majority of RFID tags in use on products today are for tracking where products are, not offering significant information about the items.

RFID technology is still in the early stages of use, a spokeswoman for Samsung in Seoul said, and Samsung currently has no timeline for when the RFID reader chips might enter mass production. The company plans to wait until RFID technology is more mature, she said.

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