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Intel may equip Ultrabooks with NFC technology

A partnership with MasterCard may eventually lead to NFC chips enabled in Ultrabooks and PCs for more secure online transactions

Near Field Communication (NFC) chips have so far been somewhat restricted to high-end smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S II, Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus.

On Monday, however, Intel announced a partnership with MasterCard to bring NFC technology to Ultrabooks. This would allow MasterCard’s PayPass service and Intel’s Identity Protection Technology (IPT) to be implemented for more secure online transactions.

Our goal is to enable users of Ultrabook devices and future generations of Intel-based PCs to enjoy the convenience of e-commerce while making online payments safer from malware and hackers with the advanced security capabilities of Intel Identity Protection Technology,” said an Intel representative in the press release. With NFC, online customers can pay for online purchases “with a simple tap of their PayPass-enabled card, tag, or smart phone on an Ultrabook device.”

Certain brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S. are already using the technology. In certain Safeway and Wal-Mart stores, for example, customers can quickly pay for items by scanning their PayPass-enabled cards instead of swiping. To feature such a method for Ultrabooks would make online shopping even easier and hopefully more secure.

Unfortunately, an exact launch window is unknown, but the press release describes the Intel-Mastercard partnership as a "multi-year collaboration". It would certainly be a pleasant surprise to see NFC-enabled Ultrabooks in 2012 when the Intel Haswell chips are expected to land.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-11-14 (Update: 2012-05-26)