HotKnot – MediaTek’s Answer to NFC

HotKnot logoWith the recent saga of OnePlus deciding to remove the NFC antenna on the OnePlus Two, NFC has become a hot topic. Just before what OnePlus did though, MediaTek released another solution to quick file transfers, aptly called HotKnot. HotKnot, being incompatible with NFC, is now NFC’s biggest competitors, and it is being implemented into most MediaTek devices.

HotKnot is decidably one of the more unique data transfer technologies available right now in the mobile market, as it actually does not use any external antenna or chipset to work, like NFC does. HotKnot uses the smartphone’s screen (that’s right, you heard me right, the screen) to pair two devices together to transfer data (done through WiFi or Bluetooth typically). According to MediaTek, it uses a similar way to how the touchscreen reads our fingers to read the devices’ screens.

HotKnot permissions

Permissions request for the HotKnot Share app

On MediaTek devices supporting HotKnot, the HotKnot transfer is built into system apps, such as the File Manager and Gallery. To send a file, the user simply has to tap on the HotKnot icon present when a file is selected, and the HotKnot Share screen will appear, while also prompting the user to allow the app to use the HotKnot technology. After allowing the app to use HotKnot, the user simply has to put the two devices’ screens together to transfer data.

One of the disadvantages of HotKnot though, is that it isn’t widely used yet. While the HotKnot APIs are publicly available for developers to use, apps using it have not been seen in the market yet. This is probably because NFC is the more mainstream technology that is also supported by most chipsets by most OEMs, while the HotKnot technology is constrained to mostly the newer MediaTek devices.

What do you think about MediaTek’s proposed solution to NFC? Will HotKnot reach the mainstream market? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Myco Sys

    From my reading, its not a Mediatek technology, it is a goodix technology (part owned by mediatek) and part of the touch controller not the SoC, it theoretically could be paired with qualcom or samsung processors too. Given it seems it now has fairly high transfer rates natively, cant be listened into by it nature (you need to be within the width of a phone) and requires no additional hardware it could well be a winner. Anything with a touch screen could use the tech, from low end wearables to payment systems.

  • chrisRoald

    First things first… hotknot is largely a s/w solution, so will outlast the tech changes that will likely overtake NFC. The downside risk for hotknot is that competitor s/w will prove better: more innovative, faster, better marketed, better security, diversely sophisticated…
    Like CPM v DOS, the giant to be will be revealed in just a couple of years!! How exciting is that?!