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Qualcomm announces cheap, battery efficient NFC chip

Near field communication might be all the rage at the checkout counter, but there are still plenty of devices shirking the technology. Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Atheros hopes to change that, announcing an ultra-low power NFC chip that might help OEMs cut costs. The QCA1990 boasts a footprint half the size of contemporary chips, and claims support for antennas eight times smaller than today’s standards — offering manufacturers, by Qualcomm’s estimation, a large enough savings to make NFC integration viable for more devices. The hardware is built to work seamlessly with the Snapdragon S4, too, and features special polling algorithms designed to minimize battery drain.

There’s no guarantee the chip will make its way into Cupertino’s next handset, but Qualcomm seems optimistic about its place in the market. “Qualcomm intends to be at the forefront of delivering simple, easy-to-use solutions to OEM partners,” states vice president of product management David Favreau, “By enabling client devices, Qualcomm Atheros is paving the way for rapid adoption of products that incorporate NFC technology.” Manufacturer samples ship out early next year, and the final chip should be in consumer devices by Q3. More internal chips, less sticker goop. Sounds good to us.

By Sean Buckley

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