Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE, now the world's fourth largest mobile phone maker, has announced it is to include NFC functionality in all its next generation handsets from the second quarter of this year.
ZTE has signed a deal with NXP that will see the semiconductor manufacturer's PN544 NFC controller being built into a wide range of ZTE smartphones and feature phones. The handsets set to include near field communication include Android-based QSC6270 platform devices as well as a number of more entry-level feature phones. The PN544 chip is also used in the Google Nexus S.
"We have seen enormous growth in our year-on-year handset shipments in Europe and the US and selected NXP as our partner because they are the market leader and their solution enabled us to reliably go to market in record time," says Zeng Zhaoxiang, vice president at ZTE. "Consumers are ready for NFC, and we look forward to leveraging NXP's expertise in the market."
"NXP is excited to be working with ZTE to enable new customer experiences through secure mobile transactions," added NXP's Ruediger Stroh. "We are delivering on our promise to bring NFC to consumers through the latest innovative applications including electronic wallet, automotive keyless entry and ticketless transport applications while providing convenience and best-in-class security to a world that is merging, converging and evolving."
UPDATED 21/2/2011: As often happens with sweeping announcements of support for NFC, there now appears to be some backtracking over exactly which phone models ZTE has committed to including near field communication support in. NXP's team in China has spoken with ZTE on NFC World's behalf, however, and has come back to us with confirmation that "ZTE are designing multiple platforms with NFC."