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Bluetooth SIG Picks WiMedia UWB Standard

The Bluetooth SIG announced that it intends to use the WiMedia UWB solution as its high data rate link. This groundbreaking announcement has significant impact, not only upon the Bluetooth playing field, but also the UWB landscape.

In terms of the impact on markets, this announcement appears likely to enable the transition of the Bluetooth brand into a wider variety of end applications, especially those relating to multi-media transfer that have traditionally been out of reach due to the lower bandwidths of Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.

From a UWB perspective, this potentially opens up a vast market for products; ABI Research forecasts over one billion Bluetooth radio shipments per annum by the end of the decade, and in the worst case -- should the UWB PHY be included in only a small percentage -- the market will still represent massive volumes of shipments that are unlikely to be encountered in other UWB implementations in the same time period.

ABI Research Principal Analyst, Wireless Connectivity Stuart Carlaw comments, "From the manufacturers' perspective, this announcement means that Bluetooth vendors will have to develop or purchase robust and viable WiMedia solutions to remain competitive. It poses added design demands for manufacturers and requires a totally different skill set, compared to the comparatively simple Bluetooth design process."

For UWB vendors this decision is the golden nest egg that many of them have been waiting for -- all except Freescale with its DS-UWB solution. The heavily venture-funded UWB community looks ripe for consolidation, merger and acquisition as major players in the Bluetooth market and end equipment markets take advantage of the huge volume proposition of WiMedia as the high data rate Bluetooth solution.

On the downside, this does paint a very bleak picture for Freescale and DS-UWB. Only time will tell if DS-UWB can survive this setback, but the odds are stacked against it.

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