New specs ease connections by wire or wireless

Wi-Fi Alliance and USB 3.0 Promoter Group demonstrate products using Wi-Fi and USB 3.0 specifications

LAS VEGAS -- The Wi-Fi Alliance demonstrated the emerging Miracast wireless display technology at International CES here Tuesday by sending live computer game animation from a smartphone to a 27-in. television.

The new Miracast wireless display technology has just started emerging in mobile devices, said Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director for the industry group. To date, more than 200 smartphones, tablets, TVs and other devices have been certified by the Alliance, she added.

In a demonstration at CES, Davis-Felner used an LG Optimus G smartphone enabled with the Miracast technology to wirelessly send an Angry Birds game from the phone a nearby TV, where it was displayed.

The alliance's wireless display specification can be used to quickly share sales presentations or videos wirelessly, without the need to find cables. Both the display and the computing device, such as a smartphone or tablet, need Miracast technology.

The Miracast technology shows the benefits of using wireless connections, Davis-Felner said. "Everybody benefits when everything works together," she said in an interview. "Nobody likes ports" on devices.

Analysts have said that there will be more than 1 billion Miracast-ready and certified devices within four years. The Wi-Fi Alliance currently has a list of more than 60 certified devices on its Web site.

Miracast runs over a pathway similar to fast 802.11n wireless, which supports up to 300 Mbps on the 2.4GHz channel.

At CES, a variety of companies showed products using Miracast including, Netgear, Qualcomm, Actiontec Electronics, Advanced Micro Deices, Broadcom, Cavium and Marvell Semiconductor.

Near the Wi-Fi Alliance's booth, promoters of wired USB connectors showed off their latest innovations at the USB TechZone booth.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group Sunday announced the development of SuperSpeed USB, also called USB 3.0, which offers up to 10 Gbps of data throughput -- or about double the data throughput over USB 2.0.

Brad Saunders, chairman of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, said that SuperSpeed USB will boost the capabilities of upcoming USB docking and storage applications.

There are already more than 720 certified SuperSpeed USB products available, double the number of a year ago, according to analysts at Multimedia Research Group.

SuperSpeed USB has the backing of many major desktop makers and allows power transport as well as data transport, an advantage over Wi-Fi and other wireless, said Jeff Ravencraft, president of the USB-Implementers Forum.

Saunders and Ravencraft said USB will continue to co-exist alongside Wi-Fi and other wireless connections for a long time, as many users continue to prefer a wired connection for very large data data transfers using devices such as high-capacity hard drives.

The USB trade groups are also backing a new power delivery specification, USB Power Delivery, that was first announced last July, The standard aims to reduce the variety of chargers used for smartphones and tablets, Ravencraft said.

Ravencraft said the European Union's requirement enacted last year to have a common charging port (via micro USB) on smartphones instead of different ports specified by different smartphone makers.

Ravencraft said a common charging port is seen as reducing waste in landfills when charging cords become obsolete. He said after the power delivery spec was published last summer, that manufacturers will be developing chips in 2013 to accommodate it.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile/wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

Tags Mobile/Wirelessconsumer electronicsNetworkinghardware systemsWi-Fi Alliancesmartphoneswirelesstabletsmobile

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