For all of the gadgets and new products that are announced during CES each and every year it can be difficult to see that this is in fact a trade show. Roaming the halls of Las Vegas conference centers and hotels will be countless buyers and investors. Choosing a new product to keep an eye or put in a preliminary order for is fairly easy, but searching out new components can be a little more tricky. Unless of course, perhaps like OnePlus, you're in dire need of a new NFC controller, because if that's the case then Broadcom has your back. In all seriousness, Broadcom's latest chip should have a big impact on the industry over time.
The BCM20797 is Broadcom's new NFC controller chip, and it's one they describe as being the "the industry's highest performing" which essentially means that the NFC connections an travel further, complete quicker and be less prone to failure. The new controller will support a vast array of different NFC standard such as SO/IEC 18092, ISO/IEC 21481, ISO/IEC 14443 Types A, B, and B', Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) (X) 6319-4 and ISO/IEC 15693. Broadcom is also introducing the new Virtual Execution Environment (VEE) feature with the 20797 which improves the performance of host card emulation as well as improves security without the need for an extra secure element on the board. All of this comes together to make the new chip from Broadcom not only a better performer but also one of the most competitively-priced.
The idea of getting excited about a single new piece of silicon such as this is pretty difficult, but what it means for the future of smartphones, and perhaps even in smartwatches is more the point. Better NFC controllers in our phones could make it easier to transfer more data more quickly, allowing for complex authentication and quicker turnarounds at the checkout. Broadcom has said that the new BCM20797 is sampling right now which means that we could see devices launch later this year with much better NFC performance and improved performance as well as security. If NFC chip news isn't to your liking, we'll have all sorts of news from CES all this week.