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Near Field Communications Might Be Dead Already

For a long time, proponents have expected Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) to make good on the promise of near field communications, or NFC, by transforming an Android device into a secure and highly useful digital wallet. Now, it looks as though the promise may go unfulfilled.

Multiple sources confirm that Osama Bedier, who led the Google Wallet team, has left the company to "pursue other opportunities." Usually, that's code-speak for "he found something better after realizing this job was going nowhere," says Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova in the following interview with the Fool's Erin Miller.

Among the major carriers, only Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) offers NFC payments via Google Wallet in a handful of its phones, Computerworld reports. Meanwhile, NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ: NXPI  ) , one of the leading NFC chipmakers, saw revenue inch up just 4% in 2012 and 9% over the trailing 12 months. The stock has traded about even with the S&P 500 year to date. Don't bet on seeing outsized returns till there's more clarity of the future of NFC, Tim says.

Do you agree? Please watch the video to get Tim's specific take, and then let us know whether you would buy, sell, or short NXP Semiconductors stock at current prices.

The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out more in the brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On May 19, 2013, at 3:45 PM, CMFJambo wrote:

    Thanks for this timely well thought out analysis. While NFC heavily weighted my decision to buy NXPI in January with thoughts of higher growth, their Q2 13 guidance is tempting enough for me to stick with them at least until the next quarter's earnings report.

    While not considered "high growth" their automotive products seem valuable enough (especially if Europe starts moving again) that NXPI is still a good long term bet.

  • Report this Comment On May 20, 2013, at 9:07 AM, Jon408 wrote:

    What about Google Glass? Doesn't that use NFC to work with the cellphone in your pocket? And any other "wearable" tech would need the computing power of the user's cellphone within a short distance, say two or three feet away.

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2013, at 2:06 PM, ROEoutshinesGOLD wrote:

    @ Jon408

    Google Glass, currently, does not implement NFC.

    I do agree with the benefits derived from the computing power of an easily available, nearby smart-phone - something you allude to. Nevertheless, the golden standard in electronics is to combine in to an all-in-one solution as much as possible. A device that heavily relies on another, for critical tasks, leaves a lot of room for desruption and seems half-baked only in hindsight - after the all-in-one solution is introduced.

    Furthermore, you are misguided in your assumptions about the operating distances of the NFC technology:

    '...other "wearable" tech would need the computing power of the user's cellphone within a short distance, say two or three feet away.'

    Fact is - NFC does not operate at 2 or 3 feet:

    "NFC works only in very close proximity, up to 20cm (7.87 inches) in theory, although its actual optimal operating distance is somewhere around 4cm (1.57 inches) or less. On the other hand, Bluetooth can pair devices up to 50 meters apart."

    Wikipedia states the folowing:

    "NFC is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 10 cm or less."

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