Broadcom Announces its first NFC Solution - BCM2079xby Brian Klug on September 26, 2011 8:00 AM EST
Near Field Communication (NFC) is quickly shaping up to be a must-have feature in this next generation of smartphones. We talked about it briefly in the context of the Nexus S, where it promised to enable contactless payments, tag reading, easier pairing, and simple peer-to-peer transfer. Though there is only one practicable NFC contactless payment implementation to date in the Nexus S 4G on Sprint, more are coming as carriers and payment processors work out the details. To date, the implementations we've seen in the Nexus S have used NXP's PN544, and there are other NFC controllers on the market from Inside Secure and STMicroelectronics.
Today, Broadcom is joining that fray with their own discrete NFC controller, the BCM2079x family, which it claims will offer lower power consumption and package size than the competition thanks to its 40nm design. This is a part specifically targeted at smartphones and other mobile NFC applications. Broadcom claims its design is 40 percent smaller and uses 40 percent fewer components compared to others.
Of course the real long term question is how long it will be until Broadcom can integrate its NFC controller into its mobile combo chip lineup. These are parts like BCM4329 and BCM4330 which combine WiFi, Bluetooth, and FM radio into one package, and are hugely popular in the smartphone space. Broadcom isn't ready to talk about that roadmap, but no doubt adding NFC to that list and keeping it all under one roof in the same die is on everyone's minds. For now, the BCM2079x family pairs with BCM4330 and others to enable NFC-enabled Bluetooth pairing and other scenarios.