HP Has Its Own RFID-Killer In The Wings

Written by Evan Schuman
July 17th, 2006

Hewlett-Packard unveiled a memory chip the size of a tomato seed on Monday in its Palo Alto laboratories. The tiny chip, called the Memory Spot, can be attached unobtrusively to any object and carry media or data. HP is positioning the chips as a direct alternative to RFID.

“It has some of the characteristics of RFID but it’s very different because it’s orders of magnitude different in bandwidth,” said Howard Taub, vice president and associate director of HP Laboratories, told PCMagazine. “It’s like comparing a monkey and a human. There are some similarities but the capabilities are very different.” The Memory Spot has a 10 megabits-per-second data-transfer rate and can store up to 4 megabits of data, although the demonstration chips stored only 256 kilobits. The chip has an integrated antenna, which is why it is so much smaller than an RFID chip, which gets most of its size from the separately attached antennae. It receives power through inductive coupling from a special read-write device that extracts data from the memory on the chip. RFIDUpdate had an excellent analysis on Memory Spot versus Gen2 while PC Magazine did a good write-up of the announcement itself.


One Comment | Read HP Has Its Own RFID-Killer In The Wings

  1. Pete Abell Says:

    Since the only way to get the data/image off of the chip is to get within a credit card width of the memory spot it will be very limited in normal RFID settings. It will definitely give the greeting card audio files a serious challenge although laying the card on a reader where the spot essentially touches the reader may hinder adoption.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.