The hype surrounding NFC, contactless payments and mainstream mobile commerce in general seems to get stronger every day, but unfortunately it seems to be all promises with very little execution.
Besides the new Samsung Nexus S, not many smartphones available in the US have NFC built-in, which is still surprising given the fact that areas like Japan and Korea use NFC for everything from paying at vending machines to getting on subways. Still, the state of NFC in the US is lacking at best, despite a new report saying NFC-enabled handsets are set to grow by over 400% in the next three years.
The report, published by research firm iSuppli, said 52.6 million NFC-enabled handsets were shipped worldwide in 2010, with that number expected to grow to 220.1 million by 2014. “Imagine paying your bus fare, buying a plane ticket or making an ATM/credit card purchase simply by holding your cell phone near a wireless terminal,” said Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst for communications and consumer electronics with iSuppli. “This is the mobile payment revolution on the verge of being unleashed by NFC technology. With NFC technology expected to be integrated into Nokia’s cell phones and Google’s Android operating system, the first shots of this revolution will be fired next year.”
2011 should be a defining year for NFC in the US. With Android 2.3’s built-in NFC support rolling out, new handsets will surely come equipped with built-in NFC chips, and the next-gen iPhone will undoubtedly have NFC built-in as well.