What is being touted as a simpler way to connect gadgets is about to come our way. Called Wi-Fi Direct, the new technology is being supported by Intel, Cisco, and Apple. The process is said to make setting up a Wi-Fi network for home owners, which can be a hassle, a lot easier. But it gets better. It is said that current Wi-Fi users will be able to take advantage of this new technology by a simple software upgrade.
A recent article also states:
The new technology, called Wi-Fi Direct, will be built directly into consumer electronics and automatically scan the vicinity for existing hotspots and the gamut of Wi-Fi equipped devices, including phones, computers, TVs, and gaming consoles. Owners of most existing Wi-Fi-enabled devices will be able to upgrade to Wi-Fi Direct with a simple software download.
While the revamp may make life easier for consumers and business owners, it may erode sales of other Wi-Fi compatible equipment. For starters, Wi-Fi Direct may curb demand for routers and other products that make up the $1 billion annual market for Wi-Fi access points, now present in about 30% of U.S. homes. “The IT department doesn’t have to set up an access point,” says Victoria Fodale, a senior analyst at In-Stat. “Same thing in the home. You can do the same thing with less equipment.” Cisco and Netgear (NTGR) are among the biggest sellers of Wi-Fi equipment.
The feature also could disrupt usage of wireless Bluetooth technology that, for example, helps users of the Apple iPhone play games with each other outside a wireless network. In the future, some consumers may use Wi-Fi Direct instead. Though Wi-Fi connectivity tends to drain battery life faster than Bluetooth, it’s also faster and allows for transfer of richer multimedia content like video.
Members of the Wi-Fi Alliance plan to promote their new technology with a major marketing blitz. Intel has already begun briefing retailers, who will promote the feature in their stores, says Gary Martz, senior product manager at Intel. The chipmaker will also heavily promote the capability in the first quarter of 2010 as it unveils its next-generation Wi-Fi chip package for computers.
Chipmaker Marvell (MRVL), meantime, is planning to collaborate with its consumer-electronics partners to mark enabled devices with special stickers and to promote the capability through ads. “We will make a big splash with Wi-Fi Direct,” says Bart Giordano, product marketing manager at Marvell.
If and when this does happen, it will hopefully make things easier for consumers to hook up devices whether at home or at work. But like with any new technology, I bet the new hardware will come with a premium price when first introduced.
Sounds good to me, but what about you?