updated 07:40 pm EDT, Mon September 26, 2011
Chips geared for smartphones
Broadcom has announced a new series of near-field communication (NFC) chips geared for smartphones and other small devices. The latest offerings are claimed to be significantly smaller than many alternatives, manufactured using a 40nm CMOS process, while also slashing power consumption by approximately 90 percent.
Phone manufacturers will be able to take advantage of field power harvesting, enabling the NFC components to function even if the handset battery is exhausted. Devices can also integrate multiple embedded secure elements, including SIM cards, which can be used simultaneously.
Apple products are said to account for a significant portion of Broadcom's sales, however it remains unclear if the new NFC chips will be headed to upcoming iPhones. Despite early rumors pointing to NFC capabilities with the iPhone 5, separate sources view such functionality as unlikely to show on Apple's smartphone until 2012.
Broadcom has yet to announce specific devices that will be built using the BCM2079x packages. The components can be used alongside one of the company's wireless combo chips, which integrates Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and FM radios.