Freescale launches 'Cable-Free USB' initiative for wireless connectivity

January 3, 2006

Creating a new wireless path for Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 devices, Freescale Semiconductor, along with leading manufacturers, has launched a Cable-Free USB initiative. Powered by Freescale's Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology, this initiative is aimed at enabling true USB 2.0 functionality with a wireless connection and marks the release of the first UWB-enabled consumer products for the U.S. market.

Freescale's UWB silicon and software enable a Cable-Free USB solution that is integrated into consumer products from Belkin Corporation and Gefen Inc. Using Cable-Free USB powered by Freescale's Ultra-Wideband, the new products eliminate USB cabled connections and are capable of wirelessly streaming data, video and audio between USB-equipped devices, such as laptops, digital camcorders, printers, cell phones and more.

According to a recent USB research report by In-Stat, more than 700 million USB devices are in the market today and that number is forecasted to increase to 2.1 billion in 2009. USB ports are increasingly found on mobile and handheld products such as smart phones and digital media players, in addition to traditional computer and peripheral products that are equipped with USB ports. Belkin and Gefen are developing initial products aimed at connecting these products wirelessly using Cable-Free USB.

"Our Cable-Free USB approach allows consumers to extend the functionality of their existing USB 2.0 cameras, flash drives, MP3 players, laptops and many other consumer electronic devices by creating a wireless connection for the existing USB 2.0 specification," said Martin Rofheart, director of the UWB Operation at Freescale. "Our customers, such as Belkin and Gefen, are eager to provide consumers with an easy and effective cable replacement. And, coupling our UWB technology with the Cable-Free USB approach, they have developed an "out of the box" solution that provides true USB connectivity—wirelessly."

Cable-Free USB leverages the existing USB 2.0 specification. It does not require consumers to upgrade or replace their hardware, install software or new drivers. Additionally, Cable-Free USB can be embedded into next-generation products, eliminating the need for an external adapter while still retaining true USB functionality.

Demonstrations of Cable-Free USB are being shown throughout CES this week, highlighting the ease of use and wire-like quality of the products.

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