Last year a new joint venture called Isis was created by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile with the goal of setting up an operator owned near field communication (NFC) based mobile payment solution that would leverage the infrastructure built by Discover. Earlier this month however Isis announced that they’ve had a change of heart and that they’re going to work with Visa and MasterCard, the giants of the payment processing industry, in order to roll out their technology faster and make sure consumers actually adopt it versus waiting for an official solution from their local banks. This has caused the analysts at iSuppli to tweak their forecast for the amount of NFC enabled devices that are slated to ship over the next few years. Back in December 2010 they predicted 79.8 million NFC devices would ship in 2011, that figure is now 93.2 million. We know that doesn’t sound like much, but then you read what they did to their 2014 numbers, upping the original figure of 220.1 million to 411.8 million and your jaw drops to the floor.
We’ve been waiting for NFC to take off for an untold number of years, enviously looking at the Japanese mobile industry and what they’ve accomplished over there while the rest of the world has been lagging behind. When Google announced Android 2.3, one of the features that stood out for us was NFC support, but since that version was unveiled half a year ago the only device that actually shipped with NFC built in has been the Nexus S. Earlier today we even found out that the Samsung Galaxy S II, which was supposed to ship with NFC support out of the box, was launched without it and that a proper NFC version will com “later this year”.
All said and done, it looks like 2011 isn’t going to be the year NFC takes off, but at least that makes us look forward to the new flagships of 2012.