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ABI Research Says There Will Be Room for Both Wireless USB and UWB Bluetooth.

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. -- Certified Wireless USB and UWB Bluetooth offer differing opportunities for vendors aiming at mass markets for devices using short-range connectivity. Will they have to choose one or the other? A recent ABI Research study has concluded that there will be room for both.

"The application protocols that will run over WiMedia solutions are one of the most interesting and hotly contested areas in the short range connectivity market place today," says principal analyst Stuart Carlaw. "Startups in this market are moving to all-CMOS implementations in order to drive down the cost of devices and stimulate volume growth. Unfortunately the result is that they need to realize volume shipments within a small window of time, since the margins per chip are extremely low. In essence, UWB vendors need to secure a vehicle to mass market and both Bluetooth and USB hold the key to that door in the form of cellular handsets and the PC peripheral markets, respectively."

So is it really a question of one over the other? Timing and potential are the critical notions in understanding this question. W-USB is here today and commercial product launches are imminent. Bluetooth over WiMedia is still two or three years away. The Bluetooth market realized 317 million unit shipments of ICs in 2005 and is set to reach over 500 million in 2006. But the USB market realizes an installed base in the billions of ports. This pattern of size and timing clearly illustrates that things are in the balance.

Carlaw concludes that "W-USB will enable start-up IC vendors to carve out significant niches for themselves. Broad-line IC vendors will crash in as UWB hits the handset market with a vengeance, a development which will coincide with Bluetooth ratification of the high data rate standard. There will be room for both, especially in recognition of the ability of WiMedia to support multiple application protocols on the same IC."

ABI Research's study, "Ultrawideband: WiMedia, DS-UWB, or CWave?" (http://www.abiresearch.com/products/market_research/UWB) profiles the major players in the UWB market, discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the technologies they promote, and provides a comprehensive analysis of the opportunities for each of the technological solutions and the protocols they support. It forms part of two subscription ABI Research Services, Short-Range Wireless (http://www.abiresearch.com/products/service/Short_Range_Wireless_ Research_Service) and Home Networking (http://www.abiresearch.com/products/service/Home_ Networking_Research_Service). (Due to their lengths, these URLs may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.)

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations supporting annual research programs, intelligence services and market reports in broadband and multimedia, RFID and M2M, wireless connectivity, mobile wireless, transportation and emerging technologies. For information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 31, 2006
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