The bean counters at In-Stat are at it again, this time predicting that during the year 2015 there will be over 1.2 billion near field communication (NFC) chips shipped in various sorts of products. That’s a pretty big number when you consider that you can count the number of NFC enabled smartphones on one hand. There’s the Samsung Nexus S, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, some variants of the Samsung Galaxy S II, and … that’s it. Many of us were disappointed to see that the iPhone 4S didn’t come with NFC, but that just means it’s pretty much guaranteed to show up in the iPhone 5. Allen Nogee, Research Director at In-Stat, says:
“As the costs of NFC chips decline, and NFC radios are combined with other chip functions, the cost to integrate NFC into handsets will be outweighed by the benefits. The growth of combo chips will also allow NFC radios to piggyback on technology that already has significant penetration in the market. For example, Bluetooth radios, which currently have 100% market penetration, can be integrated with NFC radios, making the choice to include NFC easy for OEMs.”
Qualcomm’s S4 family of processors, which should start showing up in smartphones at some point in the first half of 2012, are NFC enabled. Considering how many Android devices are powered by Qualcomm, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that every flagship Android device announced between the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2012 and the end of that year will be NFC enabled. Now of course technology for technology’s sake is just plain dumb, so that’s where Google Wallet and Isis come in. Those two services will get consumers used to paying for things using their smartphone. In-Stat says that in 2015 they’ll be 375 million such people. That’s more than the population of the United States.
In short: We can’t get NFC soon enough!
Update: Doh! We totally forgot about Nokia’s massive lineup of NFC enabled devices. So far they’ve got the C7, the 600, 603, 700, 701, N9, and there might be several we even left out!