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NATIONAL REPORT -- 2011 has been a "breakthrough year" for Near-Field Communications (NFC). About 35 million NFC-equipped phones were shipped this year, according to new figures released by IMS Research.
In the United States, the launch of Google Wallet was a primary reason for this year's NFC growth.
Shipments of NFC-enabled cell phones will more than double in 2012, according to IMS estimates. Based upon the firm's projections, about 80 million NFC-enabled phones, which will have mobile wallet capabilities, will be shipped next year.
"After seven or so years of false dawns and frequent disappointment, 2011 has proved to be something of a breakthrough year," Don Tait, senior analyst at IMS Research, told PYMNTS.com. During 2011, NFC-enabled phones were released by Samsung, Research in Motion, Nokia and HTC.
2012 looks promising for NFC growth for many reasons, according to IMS. Perhaps the top reason is the Summer Olympic Games in London. NFC will be available at Olympic Park, where Everything Everywhere, Telefonica UK, Visa Europe and Samsung are joining forces to provide the technology. In the States, the launch of the ISIS initiative in Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City is expected to boost NFC's profile.
Apple is the only main cell phone player yet to launch an NFC-enabled phone, Tait told PYMNTS.com. If Apple were to debut such a phone, awareness of NFC could perhaps be further boosted dramatically. IMS Research provides market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.