I would say there are two major trends. One is that a growing number of handset manufacturers are integrating Near Field Communication (NFC) technology into their products, allowing smartphones to read NFC tags and to emulate tags. So a phone could be used, for example, to pay for items. NFC technology is also expanding, and will likely include, in the future, the ability to read and emulate ISO 15693 tags. That would mean your phone could be used like an employee badge, enabling you to enter your building.
Another trend involves adding passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) technology to smartphones. UHF and NFC are not compatible technologies, but UHF tags are utilized on products for the purpose of tracking inventory. UGrokIt has developed a device that can be linked to your smartphone to read UHF tags, while Microelectronics Technology Inc. has introduced a small reader that can be connected to an Android smartphone or tablet to interrogate tags.
I think we will see both trends accelerate during the next year or two.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal