NFC-enabled smartphone volume to double this year, says Strategy Analytics
The global volume of smartphones enabled with near field communications is forecasted to more than double this year, according to Strategy Analytics.
The research firm noted in a blog that most new LTE 4G handsets will have NFC, which enables mobile payments. Key handset manufacturers offering NFC smartphones include Samsung, BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK).
Missing from that list is Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), which opted not to include NFC in its iPhone 5, a decision that no doubt slowed acceptance of NFC as a mobile payment option. However, it appears that Apple is backtracking on that decision.
Rumors out of China indicate that the iPhone 5S will include an NFC chip as well as a fingerprint sensor, according to a report by AppleInsider. The iPhone 5S is expected to launch later this year.
In addition, Patently Apple is reporting that this week Apple filed a new patent for establishing NFC sessions. Apple has filed a number of patents since 2008 related to NFC technology, the report noted.
IDC is predicting that worldwide mobile payments will reach $1 trillion by 2017, growth that will be fueled by NFC-enabled payments. At the same time, the figure is only 2.5 percent of the addressable market for mobile payments.
"The growing prevalence of smartphones is enabling a variety of mobile payment methods, which combined are becoming a significant share of global commerce. We expect growth rates to continue to accelerate as consumers and retailers become more comfortable with the technology," observed Aaron McPherson, practice director for worldwide payment strategies at IDC Financial Insights.
One issue that still needs to be hammered out is developing common standards for payments among financial institutions, mobile operators and retailers. This will be key to future growth in mobile payment adoption.