Spring 2011 is finally seeing the momentum of Near Field Communications on smartphones really start to ramp up. Google’s announcement of the NFC-enabled Google Wallet is arguably acting as the catalyst for this new-found excitement, marking the end of a period when Nexus S owners were left to wonder what the NFC on their phones was good for. This spring Rovio revealed Angry Birds Magic, embracing NFC to unlock content, and we just heard a rumor that HP may be planning to bring NFC capabilities to its webOS devices. The latest company to get excited about NFC is Sony Ericsson, which just partnered with a chip manufacturer to add NFC to its Android smartphones.
NXP Semiconductors, the same company behind the NFC chip in the Nexus S, announced today that Sony Ericsson will be using its components in future Androids. The statement the company made doesn’t offer any insight into how pervasive the NFC chips will be in Sony Ericsson’s lineup of phones; we certainly hope it becomes standard across the range, rather than be relegated to just a subset of its smartphones. We’re optimistic about that after hearing Sony Ericsson’s CTO Jan Uddenfeldt comment, “NFC offers our consumers the ability to broaden their communication experience beyond the phone, and we are poised to drive the development of new, exciting and creative entertainment experiences.” That certainly makes it sound like the company wants NFC to be a key part of what it’s going to be offering its customers. Neither NXP nor Sony Ericsson gave an estimate for when NFC-enabled SEs might arrive, but it wouldn’t be unrealistic to look for them by the end of the year.