Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another flash in the PAN

Nokia announced today a new short-range wireless technology called Wibree that is similar to Bluetooth but uses a fraction of the power. Nokia says it is aimed at connecting PCs and phones to watches, toys and other low-cost gadgets that run on button cells.

It’s getting crowded in the personal area network with Bluetooth, various flavors of ultrawideband including wireless USB pushed hard by Intel, near-field communications pushed hard by Philips, peer-to-peer and mesh variations of Wi-Fi and combinations like Bluetooth over UWB. Dell has been calling for a shakeout in the PAN for sometime now, calling the sector "a mess."

I have been saying since late 2004 there are too many radios trying to crowd into the phone from Bluetooth to RFID and Zigbee. It's ironic then that handset giant Nokia launches one more. The fact that Intel and Microsoft are not part of Wibree indicates it may be hard getting support for it built into the PC.

No doubt wireless is the long-term future of communications. And clearly the short term future is all about further fragmentation and consolidation of the technologies. Let the accordion play!

PS: You can go to eet.com and search for "PAN" to find some stories with good perspective on these issues--rbm

1 comment:

John Barr said...

The winner in the PAN space is definitely Bluetooth (rtm) wireless technology. As some of the stand-alone or single purpose solutions like NFC, Wibree, UWB and others are folded into the Bluetooth wireless technology family, the Bluetooth wireless experience will just get better. Instead of figuring out how to accommodate multiple radio technologies, companies want to have one PAN environment, Bluetooth wireless technology, that can transparently use and integrate new radio advances. Hard to compete with a solution that has close to 1B devices deployed with over 10M more each week. When Bluetooth wireless technology just comes with UWB or something like Wibree integrated, why would anyone want to create a separate ecosystem?