Hot Knot Versus NFC Technology – What is NFC / HotKnot? How do they work ? How do they Compare?

Author Chinavasion Marketing 26.10.2016. | 10:00

In one of our previous posts – What Is Hot Knot And How To Use It – we looked into the basics of Hot Knot operation and how it works on some of the devices featured on the Chinavasion site. We have also covered how to use NFC in the past, but we think it is time to see how the two technologies work and how they compare.

In this post, we will dig deeper into the biggest differences between Hot Knot and NFC, how it all started, the pros and cons of both technologies, as well as which technology is likely to dominate the mobile payment world.

Below you can find a detailed review of both features. Both technologies enable data transfer between devices. NFC technology appeared first and can be found in a number of smartphones from the US and Europe, while Hot Knot dominates Chinese mobile world.

Here’s how the two technologies compare to – and differ from – one another.





The History Of Near Field Communication And HotKnot

In order to explain the differences between Near Field Communication (NFC) and Hot Knot the best way to start would be by explaining their history and how both technologies came about. Throughout the following two sub-chapters below a more detailed look will be given at the history of both mobile technologies.


NFC Technology: What Is NFC And How Did It Start

Let us first start off by answering the main question you are probably asking, What is NFC? In order to answer this question we have to start at the beginning of NFC technology which brings us back to 1983 and the development of RFID technology. This technology has been used for years in wireless toll-collection devices like EZ-Pass and FasTrak as well as on things like transport cards. It did, however, still take many years before it first got implemented by the smartphone industry.

By the year 2004 three major players in the phone industry, Nokia, Sony, and Philips, noticed the potential of Near Field Communication technology and, together, formed the NFC Forum. This group dedicated itself towards promoting the security, ease of use, and overall popularity of NFC in the tech industry. With its main aim to educate other businesses about the potentials that NFC technology holds the technology gradually became more known and sought after.

Although the Near Field Communication Forum was formed in 2004, the first set of spoliations for NFC tags was not created until two years later in 2006. During the same year, 2006, the first ever NFC-compatible cell phone was created by Nokia, the Nokia 6131. Throughout the following years Near Field Communication Technology grew in popularity and as the years passed more specifications emerged. By the year 2010 the first Android NFC phone got produced, the Samsung Nexus S. In today’s smartphone industry NFC technology is widely used in Europe and certain Asian countries, and the popularity of Near Field Communication on the US market is growing rapidly as well where it is estimated to soon evolve into a popular form of payment and data exchange technology. For a complete history you can visit the NFC Wikipedia page.




HotKnot Technology: What Is Hot Knot And How Did It Start

Hot Knot, unlike NFC technology, has blessed us with its presence much more recently – in November 2013. This relatively new technology was developed by Goodix, and announced by Mediatek which is a major stake holder in the company.

Although this Taiwan-based company certainly hopes to turn HotKnot into a globally accepted technology over time, their current strategy is aimed at the Chinese market. This is why, in the West, many smartphones that are not manufactured by a Chinese brand do not feature Hot Knot technology but rather apply NFC instead.

Mediatek does, however, have a clear and positive sight set on the future of HotKnot technology as it believes that it is truly capable of becoming a dominant feature despite the current market presence of NFC. The reason behind this lays at the fact that Hot Knot technology is much simpler and cheaper to implement in a smartphone – resulting in lower production costs that, eventually, also have a positive influence on the sale price of the smartphone.




Technology And Usage: How Do NFC And HotKnot Work On Your Smartphone?

Now that we had a closer look at the history of both technologies and it is clear how both came about, we will have a more detailed look at how both NFC technology and Hot-Knot work in your smartphone.


Technology And Usage: How Does NFC Work On Your Smartphone

As it has become clear above, Near Field Communication, or NFC, is a form of contactless communication between different electronic devices. Through NFC technology you are allowed to simply swipe your smartphone over a NFC compatible device and send out information without the need of actually touching the devices together. It is a fast and easy process that does not need any installation process, which is what makes it so convenient and popular. But how does NFC technology really work on your smartphone?

NFC is an offshoot of RFID technology with the exception that modern NFC technology is designed for use by devise that are located within close proximity to one another. NFC enabled devices can be either active or passive. An example of a passive device can be a simple NFC tag that contains information that other devices can read, however, this tag does not read any information itself. Therefore it does nothing except transmitting information to authorized devices. Active NFC devices, however, can both read and send information. Modern day smartphones that hold NFC technology can be seen as an active NFC devices as these are not only able to collect information fro NFC tags, but are also able to exchange information with other compatible phones or devices.

In order to transfer data through Near Field Communication Technology, you simple need to put two NFC enabled devices in close proximity to each other. When done so no pairing codes or installation processes are necessary to link the two NFC devices – making it an efficient, quick, and easy to use technology. NFC supportive devices are fitted with an NFC antenna and an RF chip that enables data exchange with speeds at about 424kb/s. Additionally, as it runs on very low amounts of power, NFC technology uses significantly less power compared to other wireless communication types, turning it into one of the most energy efficient ways to share data between different devices.





Technology And Usage: How Does Hot-Knot Work On Your Smartphone

Hot Knot, like Near Field Communication, allows two electronic device displays to interact by sending or receiving data between one another. The main difference between the two, however, is that HotKnot does not require an antenna nor RF communication chip like NFC technology does. Instead, Hot-Knot enables proximity touch functions through an entirely new and innovative generation of capacitor touch driver ICs that have been specifically designed for touch screens.

Smartphones and any other devices that feature HotKnot use a touch sensor chip that sends communication protocols, while a G-sensor ensures that there is actual contact between devices, and a proximity sensor verifies whether the two electronic devices are close enough to one another. Once two Hot-Knot enabled devices touch each other and the above stated requirements are met, data transaction between both devices can occur. Essentially both NFC technology and Hot Knot are thus capable of sharing data among two devices. The biggest contrast is, however, that HotKnot technology is ‘’almost free’’ to implement in a smartphone whereas implementing NFC brings along more costs for the manufacturer.



 Usage: What Are NFC And HotKnot Used For And How Do They Differ?

When thinking about the use of NFC technology at your smartphone one can state that there are three main concepts for which Near Field Communication Technology can be used; ‘’Sharing, Pairing, and Transaction.’’

The most common usage of NFC are transactions. Hereby one can think about using your smartphone to pay for groceries and even public transport. Sharing is another usage of NFC as it allows you to easily transfer media files, contacts, and other information between NFC-enabled devices. Finally, there is Pairing. Near Field Communication Technology allows you to ‘’pair’’ your smartphone with other enabled devices such as, for instance, your Wi-Fi router. Simply hold your phone close to your router and you will automatically be connected to the Wi-Fi network without the needs of remembering any passwords.

Hot-Knot, just as NFC, can be used for different data transferring purposes. Hereby one can think about transferring media files (such as pictures and videos), contacts, and other information. Also, Hot-Knot can be used to exchange App information and discrete data, as well as exchanging device capabilities such as Wi-Fi connectivity. Additionally, Hot-Knot, just like NFC can be used for mobile payments and a whole lot more.

At the end of the day both NFC Technology and Hot-Knot can generally be used for the same purposes when used on your smartphone, however, when we exit the smartphone field the two technologies start to diverge.

As Hot Knot needs a capacitive touch screen in order to enable data transfer, it can not be used with anything that does not feature a capacitive tough screen, like credit cards, wrist bands, tags and the like. Here’s where NFC comes in stronger, and is thus deemed to be more suitable for enabling mobile payments, as well being an enabling element in the Internet of Things. NFC also allows for a far greater transfer speeds so is more favorable for transmitting larger amounts of data.  What’s more unlike Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, NFC uses such lower power (just 15mA) when active and passive NFC tags can run on zero power which of course just isn’t possible if you need an active screen like with Hot Knot.

Hot Knot has some advantages of its own, you don’t need a separate NFC Chip and antenna so this makes it cheaper and easier to deploy in phones where spaces is at a premium and manufacturers want to keep costs down to compete. This could well be its biggest benefit and is perhaps why its starting to feature on more mobile devices than NFC.  Additionally as the screens need to be so close to each other it essentially removes the risks of snooping or hacking which is a possible vulnerability of NFC. As MediaTek has such a dominance in the Chinese Smartphone market it may be easy for them to push through Hot Knot onto many new devices, with this advantage it could easily become a more dominant force within the mobile devices market.

Summing up, both technologies are capable of letting you quickly exchange information between devices. Hot Knot may work best for small data transfers, while NFC fits in well into the mobile payment system and can be integrated into a wider range of devices.

Author Chinavasion Marketing 26.10.2016. | 10:00
Write a comment


  1. jams November 25, 15:50

    Superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place.

  2. seden January 25, 21:55

    As it is said, the worry is that without nfc a smartphone can’t be used as active (ie : control device) for the IoT (Internet of things).
    Given the capacitive screen requirement it mean that out of cost & space, which do not matter user side, the downside is quite massive.

    Guess the Chinese don’t have much accès to IoT as otherwise the volume of report would have been intersting.

    Quite a fatal downside as it is.
    (Out of a cross compatibility with nfc (?)) It is not curious that Chinese go with it ?

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