Over five billion wireless connectivity chips will ship in 2013, according to ABI Research, as our appetite for everything mobile continues to grow. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are both growing, of course, but so are lesser-known specs such as Zigbee, UWB, and, yes, even NFC.
Most of those five billion chips won’t be in phones, as tablets, sensors, cameras, lightbulbs, refrigerators, and more increasingly get connected to the Internet.
I talked to Peter Cooney, a wireless analyst with ABI, just before the the research company’s London offices closed for the Christmas long weekend.
“While the base market is primarily things that we know like smartphones and tablets, the growth is for the internet of things … those devices are growing very quickly,” Cooney said.
Of course, a lot of chips are being made for and shipped in more standard devices, Cooney added: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and netbooks. Even old-school feature phones are incorporating Bluetooth in addition to the standard cellular connectivity radios.
And one technology that we’re not seeing much of this side of the Atlantic is poised for a breakout: NFC. In fact, it’s more than poised, according to Cooney.
“NFC has gone from two million devices in 2010 to 100 million in 2012,” he said. “Android is really driving that growth, but NFC is coming of age … and integration into smartphones is driving growth in other areas.”