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30 million NFC phones were shipped in 2011, huge growth ahead

Posted: , by Victor H.

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30 million NFC phones were shipped in 2011, huge growth ahead
Global shipments of NFC handsets jumped 10 times to reach 30 million phones in 2011, according to the latest research by Berg Insight. There were more than 40 different handsets from leading manufacturers - such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - released with NFC on board.

And the growth trend will continue. By 2016, the research firm expects there to be nearly 700 million NFC-enabled handsets on the market. 

Usually, near-field communications (NFC) technology is usually associated with cashless payments on cell phones. It’s not the only use, though. NFC could help all kinds of low-energy transactions between devices. Merchant adoption however will not be as fast as initially expected - the expensive terminals and massive changes needed will take at least a couple of years to complete. In the meantime, though, NFC will appear on phones for other reasons:

“Even though it will take some time before the stakeholders agree on business models for payment networks, other use cases such as reading tags and easy pairing of devices may well be compelling enough for handset vendors to integrate NFC in mid- and high-end devices already today,” senior analyst at Berg Insight André Malm said.

Android devices were among the first to feature NFC chips, starting with the Nexus S in late 2010, but in 2011 some flagship Android models like the HTC Sensation still lacked support. In 2012, most companies include NFC not only in high-end but in the mid-tier and even low-end phones. Samsung with its Galaxy Ace and Mini series is one example.

One of the biggest - if not the biggest - swing factors for NFC is the next iPhone. So far, Apple has opted to include the low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 specification that can be used for purposes similar to NFC. With a thriving surrounding ecosystem, an NFC iPhone could give the needed push for NFC.

Are you personally looking for NFC in your next smartphone or is this more of a theoretical advantage for you? Let us know in the comments below.

source: Berg Insight via BGR

Press Release

8 Comments
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posted on 27 Mar 2012, 07:54

1. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


I'm just hoping the iPhone 5 ships with it that way people will really start to adopt pay pass at places.

I recently started using it on my Nexus and it's freakin' sweet but would be much better if everyone used it and once the iPhone supports it I think we'll be there.

posted on 27 Mar 2012, 09:00 1

4. Alantef (Posts: 279; Member since: 14 Sep 2011)


ive been using it on my nexus....dont you love the "NO YOU DIDNT JUST DO THAT!!" face lol

posted on 27 Mar 2012, 10:02

5. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


Haha! Yeah man the first time I used it the girl at CVS is like:

"Wait. What just happened?"
"I paid with my phone."
"I get that. EXPLAIN! What kind of phone is that?"

Of course she hadn't heard of the Nexus but it was funny to see some lady in her mid 30s all excited about the fact that I paid with my phone haha

posted on 27 Mar 2012, 08:30 1

2. VJo003 (Posts: 321; Member since: 11 Mar 2012)


The question is - Was NFC one if the key factors which influenced the consumers to buy a certain device.
If this is not established this 30 Million number doesn't mean much.

posted on 27 Mar 2012, 08:34

3. ryq24 (Posts: 479; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


if iphone 5 shipped with nfc, then that would really force everyone from phone maker to merchant to adopt it.

posted on 27 Mar 2012, 10:07

6. md227a (Posts: 121; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


Im hoping the leaked I-777 ICS firmware will enable NFC on my phone. Stupid to have if its not enabled.

DAMN YOU AT&T!!!

posted on 27 Mar 2012, 14:42 1

7. Qvergnugen (Posts: 6; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


I am overdue for an upgrade phone on Verizon. I have decided that my next phone must have NFC and I am hoping SONY's Xperia line will come to Verizon and I am willing to wait. If I get a non-NFC phone now, I am afraid I would end up sitting on the sidelines for the next two years until the next upgrade while NFC finally takes off (hopefully soon).

I am looking forward to not carrying 5 credit cards+multiple store gift cards and multiple ATM cards in my wallet anymore. Plus, NFC could also replace the more than 10 keychain tags that I now carry. Heck, NFC may even replace all the keys someday as well, starting with car keys since cars are becoming more and more computer centric.

NFC is about exchanging information electronically. The uses for NFC can reach well beyond just handling credit card purchases. The uses are only limited by one's imagination. As far as security concerns go, nothing is 100% hackproof and the owner would have to exercise the normal precautions associated with anything that contains his private information.

NFC will be just another choice. If you are worried then don't use it. No one is forced to carry credit cards either. Personally, I am all for NFC.

posted on 27 Mar 2012, 16:54 1

8. rocky459 (Posts: 6; Member since: 27 Mar 2012)


Nokia 6131 was the first NFC phone released in 2006 . Apart from that there are several phones with NFC , you should mention those too !! !!

Update if possible
"Android devices were among the first to feature NFC chips"
@phonearena

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