Google CEO Eric Schmidt showed off the capabilities of NFC on the much-awaited Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS powered Google Nexus S in Web 2.0 summit recently. This has generated a lot of excitement in the industry. Near Field Communications (NFC) opens up plethora of opportunities including mobile payments. NFC is a short-range (4 inches) high frequency wireless communication technology which enables secure and encrypted communication between two devices. This is the extension of RFID standard. NFC on Mobile phones has many applications such as mobile payments, mobile ticketing, Mobile identity, mobile commerce, Mobile keys such as house keys, car keys, locker keys etc., Just imagine the prospect when NFC is widely adopted. You wouldn't be carrying around your wallet, credit cards, identity cards, smart cards and keys with you..All you would require is your mobile phone! But how far has the technology evolved? How far is the commercial viability?
It seems, the technology is atleast 3-4 years away from wide-scale adoption. The reason, the NFC chips are not ready for mass-manufacturing yet. However, Samsung announced to the world yesterday about it's Near field communication chip with embedded flash memory. These chips are designed with lower-power demands and advanced RF sensitivity making it suitable for use in mobile phones. In addition, these chips are the first to utilize flash storage for the embedded memory that enables easy firmware upgrades. The NFC Chips will be shipped in Google Nexus S and the chips would be mass produced in the first quarter of 2011.
IMS Research expects that the NFC-enabled phones would constitute 25% of all mobile phones by 2015. So, the technology is advanced but will take little longer to gain adoption.
Official press release:
Samsung’s New Near Field Communication Chip Offers Increased Wireless Connectivity for Mobile Handsets
SEOUL, Korea, December 1, 2010 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor solutions, announced today its new near field communications (NFC) chip with embedded flash memory. Leveraging a low power design and advanced RF sensitivity, Samsung’s latest chip offers designers a competitive choice for next-generation smart phones with NFC capabilities. NFC enabled devices can instantly establish a wireless peer-to-peer connection and directly handover to Bluetooth and/or WiFi connection for fast, convenient data transmission.
“NFC is recognized throughout the industry as an easy and effective way to transmit encrypted information between mobile devices or between mobile devices and other stationary NFC-enabled devices such as kiosks,” said Tae-Hoon Kim, vice president of DDI and C&M marketing, System LSI Division, Samsung Electronics. “As momentum builds for adoption of NFC technology in next-generation/ upcoming smart phones, we look forward to securing a competitive footing in NFC-based solutions with our new NFC technology, offering powerful mobile characteristics such as low power design and advanced RF sensitivity.”
NFC is a short-range (up to 10cm or 4inches), high frequency wireless communication technology which allows devices such as smart phones to collect or transmit data to another NFC-enabled device without manual configuration to identify devices. In addition, NFC chip can play a role as a contactless smartcard in use for public transportation payments for bus and subway fares and mobile banking payments. It can also read RFID tags in retail stores or on outdoor billboards for convenient on-the-spot data access.
By leveraging its extensive experience in low power design, Samsung developed this NFC chip to have minimal power consumption in both active and stand-by mode. With a 20 percent decrease in power consumption, Samsung’s NFC chip remains active for mobile payment even without battery power.
Samsung’s new NFC chip is the industry’s first to adopt flash for the embedded memory which allows device designers to easily to upgrade software or firmware. For seamless integration and customer design efficiencies, Samsung also provides a software protocol stack and technology services for antenna design and tuning. Through such features and support, designers can reduce their product’s time–to-market.
According to market research firm, IMS Research, the mobile phone market is forecast to grow from 1.4 billon units in 2011 to 1.8 billion units in 2015 at a compound annual growth rate of seven percent. In 2011,NFC-enabled phone models are expected to gain pace and the ratio of mobile phones with NFC capabilities is expected to reach 26 percent in 2015.
Samsung’s new NFC chip is scheduled for mass production in the first quarter of 2011.
The new NFC solution will be displayed at the CARTES 2010 from December 7th through 9th at the Samsung booth 3C 035 in hall 3 at Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center.
Image credit: Vivotech
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