AMSTERDAM: CHIPMAKER NXP said it doesn't seen near field communications (NFC) chips being integrated into system on chip (SoC) modules for a while.
NXP might have managed to get eight out 10 smartphone makers to install its NFC chips into devices but they all rely on external chips outside the main SoC. The firm said it is unlikely to see NFC chips being integrated into a smartphone SoC in the near future, which implies that manufacturers will have to continue to set aside physical board space for NFC chips.
When NXP's Alexander Rensink was asked if NFC would make the leap from external chip to being part of the SoC, making it a core technology, he said it will be "many years to go before NFC is integrated into the SoC, but I will not rule it out".
Rensink did say the firm's new PN547 NFC radio would boast a smaller antenna and double the read range, all of which will tempt smartphone manufacturers to incorporate the chip into future devices. However that Rensink still thinks it will be many years before NFC gets pride of place alongside other vital components in smartphones and tablets suggests that it will take a few years before NFC becomes more than just a tick on a feature list.
NXP also went to great lengths to promote the security of NFC, saying that an "NFC secure operating system" runs beneath the user-facing operating system, which in the case of smartphones would be Google's Android or Microsoft's Windows Phone. NXP explained that it is this NFC operating system that deals with handling authetication, encryption and overall operation of NFC chips rather than the general operating system, which given last year's Carrier IQ fiasco is a definitely a good thing.
NXP admitted that NFC has yet to hit critical mass and said that until it does, chip designers such as Qualcomm, Nvidia or Samsung are unlikely to give it valuable real-estate on their SoCs. µ