Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ultrawideband narrowing?

I hear at least one prominent ultrawideband startup is on shaky ground these days. Layoffs look likely and a buy out may be in the works, I am told. It's an unfortunate situation because the technology has plenty of promise, especially in home networking.

It's not that surprising that UWB may be in a consolidation phase. Plenty of startups have grown up around this emerging technology over the past five years, seeded by the usual more than adequate supply of competing venture capital bucks. But there have been plenty of technical and regulatory hurdles to getting products out the door. Indeed, last year Moto and Freescale backed off UWB after making a big push in the area. The wireless USB standard has taken a year or more longer to come to market than backers expected. And consumer electronics OEMs and especially service providers—among the biggest targets for UWB—are pretty conservative when it comes to sending high quality media wirelessly.

Hopefully markets like wireless USB and some proprietary personal area nets will take off soon to give the many fledglings some traction. But in the meantime I am seeking input from anyone who knows about the startup (or maybe there is more than one) in trouble. Post your comment or drop a line to rbmerrit@cmp.com

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