Broadcom sets its sights on NFC wireless market with acquisition

The company plans to acquire NFC specialist Innovision Research & Technology, which specializes in short-range data communication

Wireless chip maker Broadcom plans to acquire Innovision Research & Technology, which specializes in short-range data communication, for approximately $47.5 million in cash, Broadcom said on Thursday.

Innovision makes components for a number of different wireless technologies, but Broadcom highlighted its products for NFC (Near Field Communication) in a statement announcing the acquisition plans. NFC is a wireless communication technology with a range of a few centimeters.

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The most talked about application for NFC is payments. Users pay for goods by waving their NFC-enabled handset in front of a contactless reader at the cash register.

However, Innovision is hoping the technology will be used more broadly. This week, the company launched the Topaz-512. The new NFC tag has more memory than its predecessor and will open the door for applications including digital content delivery -- for example, discount coupons -- via smart posters, according to Innovision.

Broadcom isn't announcing how it plans to use Innovision's products and technology. But it is a safe bet to assume that Broadcom will integrate NFC with its existing solutions for other wireless technologies, including Bluetooth, 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications), GPS, and Wi-Fi, according to Francisco Jeronimo, research manager for European Mobile Devices at IDC. That will in turn make it easier for vendors to integrate NFC in their phones, he said.

To date, a lack of NFC-enabled phones has been one of the factors holding the technology back.

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