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Apple buys fingerprint biometrics specialist Authentec

The company’s products include a fingerprint sensor for NFC mobile phones that ensures only the registered user of a device can gain access to their mobile wallet.

Apple and AuthenTec
AUTHENTEC: Fingerprint sensor is designed to protect NFC mobile wallets

Apple has acquired biometrics specialist Authentec for US$8.00 per share, valuing the firm at some US$356m, Reuters reports.

Amongst the fingerprint sensor company’s products is the AES2750, a device specifically designed to protect access to NFC mobile wallets. Features include the ability to interact directly with payment applications stored within an NFC secure element and to provide direct NFC radio control, based on positive authentication of the user — ensuring that only the registered user of a device can gain access to the mobile wallet.

The sensor is also small enough to be mounted on the edge of a smartphone or tablet and, for touchscreen phones, can also be built into the screen using a “through-hole” glass mounting.

“As the payment infrastructure continues to proliferate, there is a growing awareness of the need for effortless security to help drive user adoption,” Authentec CEO Larry Ciaccia told analysts during the company’s Q1 2012 earnings call in May. “Our newest smart sensor will excel at supporting highly simplified, one touch transaction security.”

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