Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wi-Fi Direct Devices Begin Hitting Consumer Market

It was only a matter of time, but Wi-Fi Direct capable equipment is now hitting the consumer market. According to In-Stat research, over 173 million devices are expected to ship with Wi-Fi Direct in 2011. The functionality is really enabled in software, so existing devices should be able to support Wi-Fi Direct with firmware or software upgrades, but manufacturer support with legacy devices may not be a priority. Expect to see this capability mainly built into newly developed products.

A few of the notable announcement thus far include:

Eye-Fi X2 Card
I wrote about the initial announcement back in January. As I said back then:
This is a smart play by the company to leverage the increasing utilization of "smart" mobile devices by consumers to allow photo enthusiasts to immediately transfer photos from a DSLR or professional camera to a phone, tablet, or other computing device. This means less effort and complexity for photographers in the field. For the professional, this could mean immediate review for correct composition without the time required to change cameras, unpack editing equipment, or potentially miss a great photo opportunity. For consumers use, this can mean immediate upload to social networks without having to wait  until returning home which could be beneficial during travel or vacations.

See the Eye-Fi press release, Wi-Fi Net News post, and video demonstration of the capability.

HP Wi-Fi Direct Mobile Mouse
Today, HP announced a Wi-Fi Direct capable mouse, eliminating the need to use Bluetooth or an external wireless dongle, instead using a workstation's built-in Wi-Fi receiver. HP claims first to market with this type of peripheral. The mouse should also feature twice the battery life of comparable Bluetooth models.

It appears the link to the actual HP press release is down, but you can read more about it at CNET and ZDNet. Also, the actual equipment manual is available from HP's website.

Revolution or Evolution? - Andrew's Take
Wi-Fi Direct will revolutionize information sharing among portable and fixed electronics. Expect to see many more announcements this year about Wi-Fi Direct products, including printers, gaming systems, workstations, laptops, tablets, and peripherals. I also wouldn't be surprised to see it pop into other consumer electronics like connected televisions, Blu-ray players, and streaming music systems.

As a Ford Sync owner, I would also be interested in seeing it included in a future firmware update. Currently, Sync pairs with portable electronics via Bluetooth for audio and data transfer, and Wi-Fi Direct would be logical extension of the system.


1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised to hear that a WiFi mouse could be more energy-efficient than a Bluetooth one. I thought Bluetooth was already very optimized for low-power and short range.

    It will be interesting to see if this WiFi Direct stuff actually takes off, or if it's just a passing fad.