Qualcomm Pushes New NFC Processor

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - If NFC is the future of mobile payments then Qualcomm's ( QCOM) new NFC processor should help bring that technology to future generations of portable devices.

NFC stands for Near Field Communications and it's the technology that will change your smartphone, tablets and other devices into your personal, mobile payment center. So far, NFC circuits are featured in a small number of smartphones, mainly because they're somewhat expensive and battery draining.

But, Qualcomm is out to change all that. Its newly-announced Atheros QCA1990 chip is physically smaller and cheaper than past NFC circuits, demanding much less power from rechargeable batteries and supporting antennas that require less space than previous models.

Another added value is that the QCA1990 will work seamlessly with Qualcomm's popular Snapdragon S4 mobile processors - currently popularized inside a number of new Google ( GOOG) Android and Microsoft ( MSFT) Windows 8 phones. It should be able to operate well inside iPhones if Apple ( AAPL) so desires. And it's said to also play well with dual-SIM phone models popular in overseas markets.

Qualcomm expects that the first of these new NFC chips will make their way to phone manufacturers in the first three months of next year and then into new smartphones by the third quarter of 2013.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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