Freescale Quits UWB Forum

By Eric Griffith

April 07, 2006

The chipmaker is leaving the industry consortium it helped found to concentrate on "Cable-Free USB" without worrying about working with others.

Freescale Semiconductor and Motorola are both leaving the UWB Forum; Freescale intends to concentrate its ultrawideband efforts on its own version of wireless USB 2.0, called Cable-Free USB.

This news comes after major wins for the competition at the WiMedia Alliance, which has the backing of not only the USB-Implementers Forum (USB-IF) for "Certified" Wireless USB, but also was recently picked by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) to integrate the WiMedia UWB technology into future versions of Bluetooth.

Freescale helped found the UWB Forum as a group to focus on the Direct Sequence UWB (DS-UWB) technology it created. The group was in direct competition with those backing multiband orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (MB-OFDM) UWB, which eventually joined with the WiMedia Alliance. This led to the end of the 802.15.3a specification, when the groups couldn't come to any consensus after years of disagreement.

Freescale's Director of UWB Operations, Martin Rofheart, is quoted at EETimes as saying, "the forum was de-focused with concerns such as regulations, certification, interoperability and common signaling," and that was getting in the way of the company's concentration on Cable-Free USB 2.0 and, in the future, wireless 1394 (FireWire) and HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface).

An unnamed Freescale spokeswoman is quoted at ElectronicNews as saying, "We are about solutions, not specifications."

Pulse~LINK, a late joiner to the UWB Forum, plans to remain. There are over 100 members in the group.

Freescale is expected to have the first wireless USB product to market this year, probably by July, with Cable-Free USB four-port hubs made by Belkin and Gefen.

Originally published on .

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