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Qualcomm says no NFC yet

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NFC? semiconductor? mobile handsets?

Qualcomm Inc. clarifies that it has no immediate plans to offer NFC chips for mobile handsets. Despite having engineers working on NFC, the company is not offering its own silicon. Instead it advises handset makers to work with third-party suppliers of NFC chipsets.

Based on the RF-energized tag technology known as RFID operating at 13.56MHz, NFC is seen as a way to make electronic micro-payments such as ticketing and public transport applications.

However, a lack of consensus between banks and mobile phone service operators has stymied the deployment of NFC within mobile phones which would turn them into electronic wallets. Now, rumors are coming out that Apple Inc. will deploy the technology in the next iteration of its iPhone. Broadcom's acquisition of NFC pioneer Innovision Research & Technology plc for $47.5 million in cash is also a move forward for the technology.

Ben Timmons, senior director for business development, Qualcomm Europe, said that whereas GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are covered by Qualcomm chips for now companies that want to include NFC must work with an third-party vendor. "We do have NFC engineers but they are predominantly working on software," he said.

Qualcomm Ventures made an investment of about $5.1 million in February 2009 in French company Inside Contactless SA, and it was announced that Qualcomm would work with Inside Contactless on two 3G handset reference designsone each for UMTS and CDMA2000 networksthat combine Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem chipsets with Inside's MicroRead multi-standard NFC chip. Other investors in Inside Contactless include Nokia and Motorola.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times

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