The total number of NFC-enabled phones shipped globally hit 35 million units in 2011 and is expected to reach 80 million by the end of 2012, according to a new report from IMS Research.
IMS contributes the growth to “significant market events” coupled with manufacturers adopting NFC in more mobile handsets.
“After seven or so years of false dawns and frequent disappointment, 2011 has proved to be something of a breakthrough year,” said Don Tait, senior analyst at IMS Research. “Most of the leading cellular handset manufacturers have launched NFC-enabled handsets over the last 12 months, including Samsung, RIM, Nokia and HTC. Apple is the main player yet to release an NFC-enabled handset.”
In addition to the stream of new NFC phones on the market, there have also been an increasing number of joint ventures and collaborations between different players of the NFC ecosystem, including the U.S. debut of Google Wallet, Orange and Barclaycard’s UK launch of “Quick Tap” contactless mobile payments, and the French government’s backing of NFC projects in Paris, Bordeaux, Caen, Lille, Marseille, Rennes, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Nice.
According to IMS, 2012 promises to be an even more productive year thanks to showcase events like the Summer Olympic Games in London and the launch of Isis in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah in the first half of 2012.