Companies making Wi-fi easier, goodbye Bluetooth?

Business Week is reporting that a consortium of companies which includes the likes of Intel, Cisco, and Apple is set to release new technology called 'Wi-Fi Direct' which will turn a slew of gadgets into hotspots.

Wi-fi (when considered 'outside' as in not at work or at home) is currently only available to the general laptop, netbook or phone user in a disjointed array of pubs and cafe's across the globe where users can intermittently enjoy broadband out of the confinement of offices and houses. Wi-fi users who like to get out of the office can fret no more however, because come mid-2010, a technological upgrade will make it easier for users of consumer electronics to exchange files between electronic gadgets.

Yesterday, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced plans saying that its members will release technology that effectively turns gadgets into mini access points. These gadgets, equipped with the new technology will then able to create wireless connections with other Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets or broadband modems within a radius of about 300 feet.

This new technology named "Wi-Fi Direct" will be built directly into consumer electronics and automatically scan the vicinity for existing hotspots along with the numerous Wi-Fi equipped devices, including phones, TV's, computers and gaming consoles. Users with existing Wi-Fi-enabled technology will be able to upgrade to the new standard. Whilst this is positive news there are concerns that the companies involved may be overlooking the fact that these new plans will reduce the need for the more traditional router.

"The feature also could disrupt usage of wireless Bluetooth technology that, for example, helps users of the Apple iPhone play games with each other outside a wireless network. In the future, some consumers may use Wi-Fi Direct instead. Though Wi-Fi connectivity tends to drain battery life faster than Bluetooth, it's also faster and allows for transfer of richer multimedia content like video."

Intel seem to be serious about the success of this project and are, according to Business Week, already briefing retailers as to the finer details of the plans. This is part of a plan by the Wi-Fi alliance to back the plans with a major marketing scheme. Intel will also heavily promote the capability in the first quarter of 2010 as it unveils its next-generation Wi-Fi chip package for computers.

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