NXP to open up Mifare APIs for mobile software

The chip company will offer APIs for mobile software development for its Mifare chipsets in the coming months

Dutch semiconductor company NXP will release APIs for mobile software development linked to its Mifare chip suite within the coming months, the company announced on Friday.

The APIs will enable developers to write software for mobile devices that have embedded NXP Mifare RFID chips, for use with NFC (near-field communications) technology. NXP said that one of the uses for this technology would be mobile-phone transport-ticket services.

"We see the fastest introduction for contactless technology is in transport ticketing," Paul de Bot, NXP's vice president of strategy and business development, told ZDNet UK on Friday. "By putting Mifare in a mobile phone, instead of transport cards, the additional benefit is that over-the-air downloads are possible, to purchase tickets or top up over the air."

De Bot said that NXP had yet to work out how developers would obtain the APIs, which will be provided royalty-free.

The cryptography on Mifare Classic chips, used in travel smartcards including London's Oyster card, has been cracked by both Dutch and German researchers. Henri Ardevol, NXP's general manager of automatic fare collection, told ZDNet UK that NXP took security "very seriously".

"There are concerns around Mifare Classic, but we've established a good relationship with parties researching Mifare security," Ardevol said. "We are open to feedback and incorporate security research into releases to customers."