After posting about the global NFC possibility of Pixel 5 and Fitbit, a reader forwarded some interesting Pixel 4 FeliCa information. We all know the official story that FeliCa only works in the Japanese Pixel 4 SKUs and no other models. However, there are indications that Google installed FeliCa capable hardware in all Pixel 4 models worldwide all this time but only enables the Japanese SKUs.
The reader asked me to post some information so that we can find out the truth with help from other readers of this blog. We are looking for non-JP Pixel 4/4a SKU users who can tag read their Pixel 4/4a device with another Android device loaded with the NXP NFC TagInfo app downloaded from Google Play. The steps to do this:
(1) Install the TagInfo app, turn off NFC-A and NFC-B reads as we only want to read NFC-F tags (see screenshot directly below)
(2) Tag read the Pixel 4/4a with the TagInfo installed Android device
(3) Take a screenshot of the NFC scan results #1
(4) Tag read the Pixel 4/4a a second time, take a screenshot of scan results #2
Read #1 (Before Enablement): If FeliCa is present the Primary System Code in the Detailed protocol information section should be 0xFFFF. Additionally, Mobile FeliCa 4.1 will show a pre-enablement IDm starting with 05:FE.
Read #2 (After Enablement): On a JP Pixel 4 shown in the screenshot below, the Common Area (0xFE00) will be present, and the Primary System Code will have changed to 0xFE00, that of the Common Area. On non-JP models enablement doesn’t happen, read #2 will match read #1.
(1) The Pixel 4/4a model
(2) If the read #1 result indicates FeliCa with System Code OxFFFF and if it changes in the #2
(3) If the first 4 digits of the IDm begin with 05:FE in read #1
What does it mean if all Pixel 4/4a models have FeliCa, does it change anything? It simply means that FeliCa is loaded and present in all Pixel 4/4a devices but Google only turns it on for Japanese models. This doesn’t change anything in the short term. The real value is that it helps us understand what Google is up to and possible changes that might be coming later on with Pixel 5: i.e. global NFC just like Apple.
A few readers shared results and they all indicate Mobile FeliCa 4.1 is present with all SKUs matching the Japanese model ‘before entitlement’ state. Mobile FeliCa is ready but entitlement step does not occur: the Osaifu Keitai app does not load and run.
This would explain reports of a Pixel 4 user rooting a USA SKU device, changing some parameters and running Osaifu Keitai.