It seems the race to integrate the RFID Osaifu Keitai into the iPhone is gearing up in Japan.

A New Case

Not long after the introduction of the smrtcase Glide which allows to slide up to 3 or 4 business cards or 2 credits cards, thus allowing to attach a FeliCa-type card to the iPhone, Mophie is announcing a special case made just for Japan.

Focal will indeed soon start selling a case which will also allow to slide a Felica card into the case, allowing the widely popular wireless payment system to be part of the iPhone experience in the country.

(Image by Focal.co.jp)

FeliCa?

FeliCa is a system of secure contact-less smart card developed by Sony that became widely popular in Japan, but is also in some other parts of Asia. It not only permits payments for railfare transit payments (anyone having used the Japan railway system has experience it), but also for vending machine, convenient stores and a wide variety of services. It is also used for loyalty points cards or credit cards for instance.
The system is known under many brand service names, like Suica for the JR East railway system, PASMO for the Tokyo subway system or Edy for a widely used prepaid wallet system.

(Image by Sony Corporation)

Wireless Payments Gone Mobile

The subsequent development of the Mobile FeliCa and its introduction under the Osaifu Keitai by NTTDocomo in 2004 led customers to be able to pay directly with the mobile phone, the RFID chip being embedded.

…Absent in the iPhone

The absence of such a chip was often cited for the slow adoption rate the iPhone had in the Japanese market.

Today, with sales estimated at more than 2m, the handset introduction not being called a failure anymore and the well-known resistance of Apple to release country-specific products, cases as the Mophie or the smrtcase are filling the gap with more traditional keitais and certainly leading the way to a even greater success.