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Exclusive : Qualcomm VP Sheds Light On NFC Biz, No iPhone 5 Leaks

In an interview with earlier today, Enrico Salvatori, Senior Vice President & President of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies Europe, gave us a brief update of the aspirations of the company when it comes to Near Field Communication and other emerging new features.

Salvatori confirmed that Qualcomm will push ahead with integrating additional features crammed in the chip packaging itself, which it sees as one of its most important differentiating factors.

The acquisition of Atheros Communications in January for $3.1 billion shows Qualcomm's ambitions to become a one-stop-shop solutions provider.

Integrating Atheros' Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology on a single chip is only part of the equation but Qualcomm has even more grander plans. Salvatori confirmed that NFC may come next although he added any move would be according to "market evolution".

When we asked whether Qualcomm is ready to deliver integrated NFC products "if clients demand it", Salvatori said yes, paving the way for the prospect of the Apple iPhone 5 being the first device to feature a Qualcomm integrated NFC solution; fitting in very nicely with rumours reported the day before about a closer Qualcomm/Apple partnership on NFC.

Many were surprised that Qualcomm hasn't been more aggressive when it comes to Near Field Communication; after all, Qualcomm teamed up with contactless chip specialist Inside Contactless to deliver two 3G reference designs with MSM chips equipped with NFC inside back in February 2009.

In addition, we suspect that a newer Qualcomm Gobi baseband chip with integrated NFC will be launched soon, one which will equip the iPhone 5; after all you are more likely to use your phone, rather than a tablet for NFC transactions.

It might explain why the Apple iPad 2 CDMA tablet, which will serve as template for the new iPhone 5, comes with a Qualcomm MDM6600 baseband chip. Apple chose not to use it on its GSM version although it supports HSPA and costs 10 per cent less when the cost of the GPS receiver is included. Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, which is handled by Broadcom in the current generation, will almost certainly be integrated next year.

But that's not all, Qualcomm announced yesterday at CTIA that it will collaborate with Screenovate, an Israeli startup that can beam the smartphone user interface to other media platforms wirelessly, using the phone’s motion sensors and touch screen over standard Wi-Fi.