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NXP Semiconductors Needs a Shark Cage

There's been a lot of talk about near-field communications, or NFC, in the past couple of years. How have those rumblings translated for Netherlands-based, NFC-specialist NXP Semiconductors (Nasdaq: NXPI  ) ?

The company just reported fourth-quarter results, after finishing a nice run throughout January. Total revenue in the quarter shrank by 14% to $931 million, while its net loss widened to $0.73 per share. Looking at the full year, revenue inched higher by 4% to $3.83 billion, which was able to turn into a $1.57 per share profit by the time it reached the bottom line.

NXP has been working on weaning off its debt, and reduced net debt by $597 million throughout the year to just over $3.05 billion. Looking forward, the company sees first-quarter sales between $927 million and $984 million.

While NXP is known for its NFC chips, CEO Richard Clemmer said, "We have (had) significant design wins in premier handsets beyond near-field communication that will be a significant factor in the future." This is smart because Clemmer is trying to expand the company's perception beyond its NFC specialties.

NFC is sure to power the revolution in mobile payment technology. Google uses the technology in its Google Wallet offering, and there's a very real chance that Apple may include it in the next iPhone, since it didn't make the cut in the iPhone 4S. The technology is also set to start making its way into laptops in the near future.

That sounds promising, but some very capable rivals are still threatening NXP's spot at the NFC forefront. Rival Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM  ) announced that it was getting in on the NFC action late last year. Chip King Kong Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) is "highly interested" in NFC, recently partnering with Inside Secure for that reason. Mobile processor maker Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) is interested in integrating NFC into its Snapdragon lineup.

The potential for NFC is massive, but that's drawing in the rivals like sharks looking for blood. NXP still has the lead, but those rivals are some big sharks with some big teeth.

NFC is just one aspect of how the mobile revolution is changing our lives and how we interact with technology on a daily basis. Mobile computing promises to be the next trillion dollar revolution. There are lots of companies that are set to cash in on it, but one in particular has excellent prospects. The company is one of few players that will help power the mobile devices of the future, and it also has exposure to the explosive growth in China. Get access to this 100% free report now.

Fool contributor Evan Niu has sold bullish put spreads on QUALCOMM. He owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel, QUALCOMM, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of NXP Semiconductors, Intel, Apple, and Google, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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