Despite gloomy forecasts for the NFC market following Apple’s opt-out, Qualcomm subsiduary, Qualcomm Atheros, is introducing its first NFC chip for smartphones, which it will start piloting early next year.
The QCA1990 will be the smallest chip on the market – 50 per cent smaller than those currently available – and is said by the company to be ultra-lower power so will offer increased battery life for data hungry mobile users. Its small size could also offer savings to operators that choose it for their handsets.
Qualcomm says that its radio frequency performance exceeds requirements established by payment chip standards bodies. It also offers embedded or SIM-based data security.
“Qualcomm Atheros believes NFC will be another key element of an enriched experience for smartphone and tablet consumers. As consumers continue to adopt functions like mobile payments and contactless data exchange, Qualcomm intends to be at the forefront of delivering simple, easy-to-use solutions to OEM partners,” said David Favreau, vice president of product management.
“By enabling client devices, Qualcomm Atheros is paving the way for rapid adoption of products that incorporate NFC technology.”
The chip should be available in smartphones from major manufacturers in Q3 2013.