Broadcom has just released a chip that includes Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, and FM radio together for the first time. Now, if I were Apple and wanted to include NFC in my devices, I’d probably want to have it take up the least amount of space possible. That would be having it on a chip that would already need to be included, yes?
But that’s not fast enough for chip maker Broadcom. Today, the Irvine, Calif.-based company said it is introducing a new chip at the upcoming 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show that lowers the cost of NFC. It does so by packing the NFC capability within a chip that has a total of four radios, including Bluetooth, FM radio, Wi-Fi, and NFC. By packing several features together, Broadcom is able to reduce the overall price of every feature on the chip.
The new Broadcom chip will be available in early 2013. NFC will enable new applications such as mobile payments, which are expected to grow from $4.2 billion in completed transactions in 2012 to $100 billion in 2016, according to ABI Research. John Devlin, an analyst at market researcher ABI, said, “We predict that over three and a half billion NFC-enabled devices will ship over the next five years, opening up huge market opportunities for companies like Broadcom. As a leader in wireless combination technology and with strong existing OEM relationships, Broadcom is well positioned to capitalize on this growth in smartphones and other consumer electronic devices.”
Maybe this is what Apple has been waiting for to implement NFC in iOS devices. If space is a premium in devices now (since for a lot of iDevices the things are mostly battery now), you’d want it on a single chip to take up less space (maybe less power too, but I’m not an engineer).
This, I think, adds some credence to rumors of NFC in the iPhone 5S. The timeframe of availability in early 2013 fits. Would this provide a big boost to NFC or is it just going to be another technology that needs more time to mature.
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