Google Has NXP to Thank for NFC
Jeff Miles, director for mobile transactions at NXP, who spoke with eWEEK last month before Google unveiled the Nexus S with NXP's technology, said Google CEO Eric Schmidt's revelation of NFC on the Nexus S Nov. 15 will help the NFC market take off. Miles envisions NXP's chips and software will run in the lion's share of 50 million NFC-enabled smartphones launching next year. Over time, he expects NFC-enabled devices such as the Nexus S and other portable gadgets will replace credit cards, debit cards, passports, transit tickets, security cards and even door keys.However, Gingerbread currently allows mobile phones with NFC chips to work as readers, but not as transmitters, a necessary component to any NFC-enabled mobile payments system, according to ReadWriteWeb. Google needs to update its Android 2.3 OS and software development kit to support NXP's chip and software stack and enable mobile payments. Developers then need to write apps to take advantage of the NFC capabilities for the Android platform. "The smartphone is not only what's driving it, but what's going to make it successful," Miles said. "There's so much smartphones can do with NFC." Google may have thrust NFC and the relatively low-key purveyor NXP into the limelight with its recent news, but it's hardly the only player looking to leverage the technology in mobile devices and apps. Apple is working on NFC technologies for its iOS devices, and Research In Motion is actively recruiting for this endeavor. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie confirmed RIM was eyeing NFC last month. There is also Isis, the NFC venture sponsored by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Google, Apple and Nokia have all voiced their support for Isis.
Miles told Near Field Communications World that the Nexus S will soon be ready to support mobile payment applications, thanks to the open-source software stack and chip it provided Google.