Mark Twain famously said (or almost said) “rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. Just when you thought it was safe to stay at home and live with slow speed wireless data transfer, UWB has performed a similar reincarnation, appearing to rise, Lazarus-like, from its grave with the announcement of two new chipsets from Samsung and CSR.
UWB has had a chequered history of ups and downs. Last year, when I started writing my book “Essentials of Short Range Wireless”, I planned a chapter on it as it seemed to be experiencing something of a renaissance. Half way through writing the book, a number of the key chip companies folded and I removed the chapter. It looks as if I may have acted prematurely.
Why the resurgence of interest? UWB has had a turbulent history, with many of the start-up companies supporting it going bust as the industry embarked on its love affair with ever faster variants of Wi-Fi. The answer comes back to the classic divide between the PC and mobile phone industries and the feature that separates them more than anything else: one has a power cord and the other doesn’t.