NXP CEO Casts More Doubt on Prospects for NFC IPhone in 2011

NXP Semiconductors CEO Richard Clemmer said he would be “surprised” if the next iPhone supports Near Field Communication–the most important source yet to express doubts that Apple will adopt NFC this year.

An NXP spokesman today confirmed to NFC Times that Clemmer made the statement at the Reuters Global Technology Summit held late last week. A little-noticed comment was buried in a story by Reuters.

Most people in the industry agree that Netherlands-based NXP is currently the largest supplier of NFC chips to the market and would be the likely supplier of chips to Apple if it chose to adopt NFC.

“I’d be surprised if Apple's iPhone 5 has NFC,” Clemmer said, according to the NXP spokesman. The NXP chief executive added in response to a question that he believes the iPhone 6, or whatever nomenclature Apple chooses for its next iPhone versions, will come out next spring.

He did not say whether he thought next year’s iPhone would support NFC, but many in the industry believe that if Apple does not adopt NFC for its 2011 iPhone, expected to be released this summer or fall, that it would incorporate the technology in the following version. Apple will probably make its NFC intentions known for this year at its Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled for next month.

The only other chip supplier that is shipping NFC chips in volume, France-based Inside Secure, is unlikely to be supplying Apple, said sources.

Doubts have been growing that Apple is ready to incorporate NFC in its devices. As NFC Times reported earlier, some analysts, after talking to industry suppliers and other industry sources, did not include an NFC-enabled iPhone in their projections of NFC phone shipments for 2011.

While Apple has applied for a number of patents featuring NFC, the company may not believe the technology is mature enough or that there is a sufficient infrastructure of readers and tags to create a compelling user experience, said observers.

That is despite that fact that Apple’s main rivals in the smartphone market, Google, Nokia and Research in Motion, all have embraced NFC. But they are just starting to introduce phones.

A key theme running through Apple’s NFC patents is use of the technology to pair Apple devices and enable users to share content and settings among the devices.

For that, it wouldn’t need an NFC chip that supports payment or other applications using card-emulation mode or a chip that comes with an embedded secure element. Other NFC chip suppliers besides NXP and Inside might be ready to supply this, though these chip suppliers are still believed to be gearing up for the market.

In any case, Clemmer would have no reason to pour cold water on the stubbornly persistent rumors that Apple will embrace NFC for this year’s iPhone–even if NXP were not the supplier. NXP’s share price has more than doubled since December, fueled by the buzz around NFC and especially the chip maker’s partnership with Google to incorporate NFC in Google’s Nexus S phone and its Android smartphone operating system. 

Clemmer, at the Reuters event, also noted that the company is working with all major handset makers and mobile operating system suppliers, which would include Microsoft and its Windows Phone operating system that has been adopted by Nokia.

He claimed that NXP holds a 70% share of the NFC chip market this year, and kept to his projection that there would be about 70 million NFC chips shipped in 2011 and about double that next year from all suppliers, the NXP spokesman confirmed. The Reuters story inaccurately stated that Clemmer had projected NXP itself would ship 70 million chips this year and double that or more in 2012. Inside Secure’s CEO Rémy de Tonnac disputes the NXP estimate on market share, telling NFC Times last week, “Let’s count the chips at the end of the year.”

Clemmer also predicted that in five years, two-thirds to three-quarters of all smartphones would pack NFC.

Within a few years, much of this NFC technology in smartphones is expected to be incorporated in combination wireless chips that also support such technologies as Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS.

NXP does not produce these types of chips, which are instead made by such companies as Broadcom. It would then focus fully on secure elements to support NFC applications in the phones, Clemmer said.

HEADLINE NEWS

Apple Strikes Back at Australian Banks Seeking to Bargain Collectively, Branding Them a ‘Cartel’

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple has responded to a request to regulators by four major Australian banks to jointly negotiate terms for their adoption of Apple Pay and to boycott participation during the negotiations with a strongly worded letter, branding the group’s proposed action worthy of a “cartel” that would “harm consumers, lead to less competition and less innovation and set a troubling precedent.”

Reports: ZTE Pay to Join Crowded Mobile Payments Market in China

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Credible reports say that Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE plans to join the “OEM Pay” club, and that the company has signed an agreement with payments network China UnionPay to deploy an NFC-enabled mobile payments service in China.

STMicroelectronics Sees Booster Technology as Way to Become Competitive in NFC Wearables, Smartphone Markets

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Chip maker STMicroelectronics is hoping its $77.8 million-plus acquisition of the NFC assets of Austria-based ams AG will help it accelerate its move into the Internet of Things market, especially for wearables.

Taiwan Banks to Launch Mobile Payments with HCE, but Only with Mastercard-Branded Cards, Using Local Tokenization

Aug 4 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight –  More than a dozen Taiwanese banks and their mobile payments joint venture along with Mastercard plan to announce Thursday the launch of mobile payments using host card emulation, with more banks to follow.

NXP Reports Growth in NFC Revenue for Second Quarter Thanks to OEM Pay, Transit Ticketing in China

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – NXP Semiconductors reported growth in its Secure Connected Devices unit, which includes its NFC chips and secure elements, as the Netherlands-based chip maker is benefitting from the rollout of mobile payments services by smartphone OEMs and renewed interest in NFC transit ticketing in China.

Analysis: Apple Pay U.S. Transactions Growing but Base ‘Very Small’; and Rivals Not Apparently Catching Up

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple’s boast this week that its mobile payments service accounts for three out of four contactless payments in the U.S. says little about the number of contactless transactions it is recording stateside, but does indicate that Apple has maintained its lead over rival NFC-enabled wallets.

Swiss Competition Officials Decline to Investigate Apple Pay Antitrust Complaint for Now

NFC Times Exclusive – A few days ahead of the official launch of Apple Pay in Switzerland earlier this month, Swiss consumer protection group Konsumentenschutz SKS filed a complaint with the Swiss competition officials, contending that Apple’s policy of locking down the embedded chips in its NFC devices is “monopolistic” and is a violation of the country’s antitrust laws. The regulator, however, has declined to launch a formal investigation, deciding to continue to observe the market for now, NFC Times has learned.

Australian Banks Form Bloc to Counter Apple’s ‘Divide-and-Conquer Strategy

Aug 10 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – In an unprecedented move, four major Australian banks, including three of the country’s big four financial institutions, have asked the

Mastercard’s Planned Acquisition of VocaLink Could Speed Up Commercial Launch of Zapp’s Mobile Payments Service

NFC Times Exclusive –  Mastercard’s planned acquisition of UK payments company VocaLink may offer the final boost needed for VocaLink’s Zapp unit to launch its long overdue mobile payments service, the Pay by Bank app.

HCE Mobile Wallet is a Must-Have, Says Polish Bank, But Usage Still Low

NFC Times Exclusive – The high penetration of contactless point-of-sale terminals and high use of contactless bank cards in Poland has spurred the launch of HCE mobile wallets by some Polish banks, but use does not appear to be taking off yet–at least if one bank’s project is any guide.

Apple Pay Launches In Hong Kong, Where Other NFC Services Have Failed to Take Off

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple followed its launch of Apple Pay in France Tuesday with a launch in Hong Kong today, its ninth market globally and fourth in the Asia-Pacific region.

Apple Pay Launches in France with Few Issuers and Tokenization from Visa and Mastercard

Jul 20 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple Pay, as expected, has launched in France, its eighth market globally and third in Europe after the UK and Switzerland; but it launches with only one major bank in France, Groupe BPCE.