Qualcomm announces ultra-low power NFC QCA1990 chip

Qualcomm Atheros has announced its new QCA1990, a low-power NFC chip that holds the title of being the smallest ultra-low system-on-a-chip currently available. This NFC chip is 50-percent the size of its competitors, and aims to solve the current criticism regarding the battery usage of NFC technology. Samples will begin going out in Q1 of 2013.

The QCA1990 is integrated with the Snapdragon S4, and, according to the press release, creates "seamless user experiences" when used with Qualcomm's WCN3680 wifi/Bluetooth chip. Also, and perhaps one of its best offerings, the QCA1990 supports antennas that are 8 times smaller than current standards.

What does this mean for consumer technology? While NFC has been generating a nice deal of buzz amongst adopters of the latest and greatest gadgets, many devices still lack the feature due to its energy drain, with many critics saying that Bluetooth 4.0 is a better option. This new chip by Qualcomm puts the kibosh on those arguments, however, and is certainly a step in the right direction.

Qualcomm's Vice President of Product Management David Favreau offered this statement. "Qualcomm Atheros believes NFC will be another key element of an enriched experience for smartphone and tablet consumers. As consumers continue to adopt functions like mobile payments and contactless data exchange, Qualcomm intends to be at the forefront of delivering simple, easy-to-use solutions to OEM partners."