STMicroelectronics – Diversifying the NFC Chip Market
August 31, 2022
GoToTags is proud to announce the addition of NFC tag products to the GoToTags catalog featuring STMicroelectronics (ST) NFC chips. In the past NXP has maintained a decisive market dominance over the NFC chip production market. ST, a well-established manufacturer of electronics, semiconductors, and microchips, has responded, leveraging their expertise to establish themselves as a direct competitor to NXP. In addition to manufacturing NFC controllers to be used in NFC devices, ST has introduced a new high-quality line of NFC chips. GoToTags is now offering the new ST25TN and ST25TV chips in a large variety of ST NFC tag products.
Constraints of an NFC Chip Market Dominance
Previously, the NFC chip market was primarily limited to the offerings created by NXP. This near monopoly on NFC chip technology is rife with problems for companies utilizing these chips. Diversification of supply is crucial to maintaining consistent production and competitive pricing. The COVID pandemic hit the world of chip manufacturing hard, creating a worldwide chip shortage, along with significantly increased demand for similar UHF RFID chips. The shortage is so extreme that governments are stepping in to increase manufacturing capabilities around the globe. The combination of low supply and a single dominant manufacturer drove price increases that went unchecked without competition. Diversification within this virtually single-company industry takes a powerhouse semiconductor production company who is willing to dedicate their expertise and resources to give the NFC chip market a next best (or potentially better) alternative. That is exactly what ST has achieved.
The New STMicroelectronics NFC Chips
Founded in 1987 in Switzerland, STMicroelectronics has a long history of innovation with a focus on reliability and sustainability. Their journey into the world of NFC has produced exciting products which have proven to perform admirably compared to the NXP options. ST now offers a full suite of Type 2 and Type 5 NFC chips that match NXP’s performance and usability at competitive pricing. Prices of ST chips are equal or lower than their NXP counterparts. Additionally, the process of switching from NXP to ST chips is seamless thanks to the layout of ST chips being wire compatible, making it easy for manufacturers to implement an ST NFC chip into an inlay originally designed for use with an NXP chip.
All these factors combine to make the transition from NFC tags with NXP chips to this new collection of ST NFC chips seamless. While the chip inside may have a different name, the functionality and performance are interchangeable for most applications. These are still the same NFC tags companies are accustomed to implementing and end users are comfortable interacting with. This interchangeability does more than give NFC tag users another choice to make. This high-quality alternative will mitigate supply chain issues and lower chip prices over time with the natural progression of business competition.
NXP Chips Vs ST Chips
A comparison matrix of NXP NFC chips to ST NFC chips:
ST’s new NFC chips offer similar features as their NXP counterparts (listed above) with a few differences. The Kill Feature is one notable feature that is available on ST chips. A common feature in UHF RFID chips, ST has found benefit in including the Kill Feature in their NFC tags, as well. Once an NFC tag has reached the end of its usefulness, ST NFC tags can be permanently deactivated, rendering it unable to be read or used ever again. This action is used in situations such as preventing tag hijacking and competitors looking to glean information about the usage of NFC tags.
GoToTags and ST
GoToTags has conducted testing on NFC tags containing NFC Forum Type 2 ST25TN and NFC Forum Type 5 ST25TV NFC chips and found equal read and write performance on desktop and smartphone devices compared to their equivalent NXP chips. NFC tags containing ST chips can even be read and encoded with both the GoToTags Windows App and Encoder App. Given these findings and the fact that ST chips are equal or lower cost, we believe that the ST NFC chips are a valid, and oftentimes preferable alternative to the traditional NXP NFC chips.