New research from IMS shows that approximately 35% of NFC controllers shipped in 2016 will combine NFC technology with other wireless standard such as Bluetooth, 802.11, GPS and FM.
According to IMS, the majority of NFC controllers to date have been standalone solutions that are embedded into end-devices and SD Cards or implemented as part of a module alongside the NFC secure element. However, as NFC is introduced into more mobile devices, the practical approach will be to add other connectivity functions, such as Bluetooth, 802.11 or GPS to create a “connectivity combo” IC.
“Ultimately this will result in companies dominant in the connectivity world, such as CSR, Broadcom, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and Marvel, taking an increasing share of the NFC controller market,” explained senior analyst Don Tait, adding that Marvel and Texas instruments have already announced NFC combination ICs.
“That being said, the incumbent NFC controller suppliers aren’t going to give up without a fight, a fact illustrated by NXP announcing its new PN547 NFC controller in time for MWC,” added Tait.
According to IMS, a number of connectivity suppliers are claiming that they will quickly be able to match the performance of NXP’s PN547 while also offering other connectivity features, further pushing the market towards combos.
“To counteract the increased popularity of connectivity combination controllers during the next few years, some suppliers are expected to launch security combination ICs (i.e., the combination of the secure element and the NFC radio on a single piece of silicon),” added Tait. “IMS Research believes that while security combination ICs will be able to take some share of the overall market, it will not be to the same extent as connectivity combos.”