Inside Contactless, a France-based maker of contactless chips for cards and mobile phones, says it has received funding from the investment arm of Samsung Electronics, the world's second-largest handset maker based on manufactured units. The US$4 million investment caps off a $42 million (26.6 million euros) third round of funding for Inside Contactless. The round also includes investments from the venture capital or investment arms of Finland-based handset maker Nokia, the world's largest phone manufacturer based on number of handsets, and No. 3 handset maker Motorola of the United States. U.S.-based access-control vendor HID Global, part of Assa Abloy Group, also contributed to Inside Contactless' third-round of funding. The chip maker has announced two other funding rounds since December 2005 that garnered at least $35.6 million. The vendor had announced the Nokia and Motorola investments earlier this year but held open the latest round to include the $4 million from Samsung, which overtook Motorola as the No. 2 handset manufacturer late last year. The top three phone makers are interested in Inside Contactless' Near Field Communication chip for mobile phones. The chip is the first to support a standard connection to SIM cards, which stores payment and ticketing applications in NFC phones. Mobile operators will order most of the NFC phones sold in Europe, and they prefer NFC chips with a connection to SIM cards, which the telcos issue to subscribers. A source tells CardLine Global's sister publication Cards&Payments that Samsung's semiconductors unit is working on its own an NFC chip, although it is unclear how far along the unit is in developing the chip.

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