NXP’s NTAG21x Chip Family

NXP is a semiconductor company that makes a wide range of chips used in NFC tags and products. Back in October 2012, NXP announced the 2nd generation of its NFC chip products known as the NTAG21x family. This follows the highly successful first generation chip which is the NTAG203 family.

The products in this family are NTAG210, NTAG213, NTAG215 and NTAG216 with memory sizes of 48, 144, 504 and 888  bytes respectively.

Taken from NXP’s press release, the family also brings many new features:

  • 32-bit password authentication, which offers a simple protection mechanism for data stored into the tag
  • UID ASCII mirror, which automatically maps the IC unique serial number to a stored NDEF message, thus greatly simplifying tag serialization e.g. in smart poster applications
  • 24-bit NFC counter and NFC counter ASCII mirror, which measures the number of interactions occurred between NFC devices and the tag, and appends it to a stored NDEF message, e.g. to improve usage analytics in smart advertisement or location based services
  • Integrated originality signature, which enables the detection of unauthorized NTAG copies, thus providing a simple but powerful product authentication method
  • A new Fast Read command, which speeds up tag registration in inline processes such as print media or product label manufacturing
  • A special variant of the NTAG216, called NTAG216F, which additionally offers a configurable Field Detection pin and a Sleep mode, features particularly required in electronics pairing applications.

 

So far, we haven’t seen applications that take advantage of these new features but we think they will appear slowly when more and more products with this chip available in the market.

The most important thing, all chips in this family are NFC Forum Tag 2 type compliant which means they can be used with all NFC devices.

From our point of view, we see that NTAG216 with 888 bytes of memory is able to close the gap in the market. The storage size is large enough to store many data type including contact information. Previously Mifare 1K is a favourite chip to store contact information but it is not compatible with some of the NFC devices. We already have stickers with NTAG216 in stock and will slowly expand our offerings to other products such as cards, wristbands etc.

NTAG213 is seen as a direct replacement for NTAG203 because the similar memory size. We will carry this as well. Nevertheless, NTAG203 will remain as a product that we will regularly stock as it is a proven and well tested chip in the market.

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