Broadcom Sets Its Sights on NFC Market With Acquisition

Wireless chip maker Broadcom plans to acquire Innovision Research & Technology, which specializes in short-range data communication, for approximately US$47.5 million in cash, Broadcom said on Thursday.

Innovision makes components for a number of different wireless technologies, but Broadcom highlighted its products for NFC (Near Field Communication) in a statement announcing the acquisition plans. NFC is a wireless communication technology with a range of a few centimeters.

The most talked about application for NFC is payments. Users pay for goods by waving their NFC-enabled handset in front of a contactless reader at the cash register.

However, Innovision is hoping the technology will be used more broadly. This week, the company launched the Topaz-512. The new NFC tag has more memory than its predecessor and will open the door for applications including digital content delivery -- for example, discount coupons -- via smart posters, according to Innovision.

Broadcom isn't announcing how it plans to use Innovision's products and technology. But it is a safe bet to assume that Broadcom will integrate NFC with its existing solutions for other wireless technologies, including Bluetooth, 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications), GPS and Wi-Fi, according to Francisco Jeronimo , research manager for European Mobile Devices at IDC. That will in turn make it easier for vendors to integrate NFC in their phones, he said.

To date, a lack of NFC-enabled phones has been one of the factors holding the technology back.

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