Commercially available NFC-embedded devices haven’t hit the market as quickly as many anticipated, and combined with the rise of mobile handsets with microSD slots, a new approach to NFC is emerging that promises to bypass both handset vendors’ and mobile network operators’ core involvement.
New microSD offerings with NFC functionality are coming to market quickly, joining stickers as a way to bring contactless connectivity to existing mobile handsets and laying the groundwork for true mass-market mobile payments in the near term.
While the technology is present, it’s been used primarily in computers and peripherals up to this point. Last year, for example, NFC-laden computer and peripherals far outnumbered mobile devices, which is surprising given the potential.
“Mobile handsets remain the key market for NFC but increasingly the potential of the technology is driving NFC into other devices and form factors,” says principal M2M analyst Jonathan Collins.
The main problem still lies with MNOs, who remain the gatekeepers for mass NFC handset rollouts. Over the next few years, however, the proliferation of MicroSD combined with other offerings such as active and passive contactless stickers should finally provide mobile users with true access to mobile payments using NFC.