Bluetooth 'on its way out'?

NFC and ultrawideband hold the smoking gun

NFC and ultrawideband hold the smoking gun

With mobile handsets rapidly evolving, a spectrum of short-range wireless technologies are battling to be included in today's phones – but who will be the winners and losers?

According to analysts, ultrawideband (UWB) and NFC (near-field communications), as used on the London Underground's Oyster cards, could come out on top, with Bluetooth heading the way of the dodo.

A new report from research firm Analysys has found that Bluetooth will face a stiff challenge to remain phone makers' favourite cable replacement, but because neither represents a money-making opportunity for the operators, WLAN could be a contender in the connectivity space.

The challenge for the operators, according to report co-author Alastair Brydon, is to make sure, if they choose to plump for the WLAN route, that their services complement rather than compete with their mobile offerings.

Unlike Bluetooth and UWB, NFC has the potential to generate operators some serious cash and is a far more likely candidate for mobile inclusion.

Japanese operator DoCoMo has already included a precursor to NFC in some of its handsets as a way of turning the phone into a way of making contactless payments.

Over a million of the NFC-style handsets have been sold in Japan and some 12,000 readers have been installed across the country.