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UltraWideBand Technology Consolidation

Apparently 2008 was a difficult year for UltraWideBand (UWB) technology adoption, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. There are now four fewer UWB chip makers than there were in the middle of 2008, the high-tech market research firm says.

A market recap: Focus Semiconductor declared bankruptcy; WiQuest shut its doors; Intel stopped its program; Artimi and then Staccato Communications merged at the urging of their venture capitalists.

"This consolidation has been expected, but in combination with continued slow UWB device shipments, it raises the specter of the failure of UWB technology in the marketplace," says Brian O'Rourke, In-Stat analyst.

On the bright side, UWB-enabled mobile PCs showed impressive percentage growth, albeit from a very low starting point. Another positive development in 2008 was the settling of the worldwide regulatory structure and the consequent development of worldwide UWB chip stock keeping units (SKUs) from a number of chip makers.

The In-Stat research covers the worldwide market for ultrawideband technology, both WiMedia and proprietary versions. It provides forecasts for UWB penetration in major product categories, UWB-enabled cards and dongle shipments, UWB network port shipments, and UWB-enabled device shipments through 2012.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- PCs are the leading UWB segment in 2008, with 265,000 devices expected to ship.

- Aftermarket UWB hubs and adaptors comprise all of the UWB peripheral shipments in 2008.

- The first UWB-enabled digital televisions shipped during 2008 in Japan.

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