Intel Ditching Ultra-Wideband R&D

Dead before arrival?

Development of the Ultra wideband (or UWB) standard just lost one of its primary developers. Intel has decided to cease internal R&D on the five-year-old (and still pretty much unknown) project although the company isn’t writing off the use of UWB quite yet. Whether technologies based on UWB, such as Wireless USB, will be affected remains to be seen.

According to Intel technology strategist, Stephen Wood: “it was a typical make-versus-buy decision,” which seems fair enough. Clearly if Intel can buy a UWB chip to solder onto its motherboards for less money than it takes to make one in-house there’s no real reason not to. Especially when talking about a fixed standard – it’s not as if Intel’s chip could be ‘better’ and nor could it charge any kind of premium to recoup its R&D losses.

Saying that, the move on Intel’s part to abandon making UWB parts could, in and of itself, be taken as a vote of no confidence in the long-term survivability of the standard in general. The UWB standard was approved by Ofcom back in August last year and we’ve still to see any significant number of products using it, with the Hitachi UT series being the only notable example of a product actually available to buy.

Anyone want to pick up where Intel left off?

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