140 million units shipped last year.
Shipments of NFC-enabled devices grew by 300 per cent in 2012, taking the total number of sales to 140 million for the year, according to new research from Berg Insight.
Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48.2 per cent, annual shipments are forecasted to break the one billion units barrier by 2017.
NFC technology enables numerous applications, such as information exchange, device pairing for establishing Bluetooth or WLAN connections, access control, electronic ticketing and secure contactless payments.
Wider-scale adoption of NFC capabilities in mobile phones began in 2011 and started to gather pace in 2012, when the top-ten handset vendors released nearly 100 NFC-enabled models.
However, André Malm, senior Analyst, Berg Insight, believes that it will take some time before stakeholders agree on business models for payment networks and access to secure elements that store the sensitive user information in NFC-enabled handsets. “It is the sum of many possible use cases for NFC rather than one single killer application that make the technology compelling for smartphone vendors already today. Once developers gain experience with NFC and get access to a larger installed base of compatible handsets, we can also expect to see entirely new use cases not yet imagined”, he commented.
With connectivity technologies, such as Bluetooth, WLAN and GPS already standard features in most smartphones, 2012 saw shipments of WLAN-enabled handsets increased to 700 million units, while the attach rate reached 44 per cent. Several new WLAN standards and certification programmes are now being adopted to enable new use cases and improve the user experience when using WLAN in handsets.
“Mobile operators that were initially sceptical about WLAN are now adopting a range of strategies for using WLAN as a cost-effective data offloading solution to handle the rise in data traffic from smartphones,” Malm concluded.