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Wireless Networking Sony Hardware

Sony Starts a Standards War Over Wireless USB 401

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-stand-so-close-to-me dept.
Stony Stevenson alerts us to news out of CES that Sony has kick-started another standards war, this time over wireless USB. Ars notes that Sony "[never was] one to settle for an open standard when the opportunity to push a proprietary alternative presents itself." Sony's TransferJet technology uses low-power UWB at very short distances to transfer data at a nominal 520 Mbps. Almost every other large technology company — including Intel, Microsoft, HP, and Samsung — has embraced the W-USB standard, which promises transfer speeds of 480 Mbps at distances up to 3 meters, vs. TransfeJet's 3 centimeters.
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Sony Starts a Standards War Over Wireless USB

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  • Sony obviously.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Sunday January 13, 2008 @11:57PM (#22031224) Homepage Journal
    Sony obviously hasn't learned any lessons from the failure of minidisc, atrac, memory sticks, r-dat, sdds, HiFD, 8mm video, SACD, UMF, etc, etc (I'm sure I've missed a few failed sony formats).

    One of the many reasons I don't buy Sony products is 'cause of Memory Sticks, and I'm not alone - even non-geek colleagues won't touch cybershots anymore.

    Bigger sufferers of not-invented-here-syndrome than Apple & MS combined.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snl2587 (1177409)

      I wouldn't necessarily regard SACD as a failure; even though it was planned as a replacement for CDs it still found its niche among audiophiles.

      Of course, your main point is still valid...after the whole rootkit fiasco I don't even touch regular Sony/BMG CD's anymore...

      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:25AM (#22033008) Homepage
        Can you really even get SACD anymore? I would think that it would have died out and been replaced by DVD-Audio now. I wasn't aware they were even made anymore. And unless you're an audiophile with very specific music tastes, I can't see how owning an SACD player would give you much. Buying something just because it's available in higher quality is stupid. It would be like buying "Snakes on a Plane" on BluRay, just because it's high def. It doesn't make the movie any better. Sure SACD sounds better, but if it doesn't have music you like, there's no point in having it.
        • by somersault (912633) on Monday January 14, 2008 @07:07AM (#22033174) Homepage Journal

          Buying something just because it's available in higher quality is stupid
          Tell me about it, I'm fed up of all these people trying to get me to buy CDs, when I can get perfectly good tape recordings off of the radio, plus there are all these tapes around in these cool little shops that sell stuff that people don't want anymore! Who would be stupid enough to get rid of their old tapes in favour of the CD version?!! Insanity! Don't even get me started on colour TV..
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:05AM (#22031256)
      Clearly their openness with the PS3 would suggest otherwise. (Many formats, HID complant USB and Bluetooth peripherals, etc..)

      This new technology doesn't actually seem to compete with W-USB, except for in the head of this analyst. It appears to be for device->device transfers, where W-USB (like regular USB) seems to be towards host->device and device->host transfers. W-USB doesn't seem suitable for low-power devices with minimal CPU (much like host-mode USB). The two seem to be serving different niches. It reminds me of the "war" between RapidIO and Infiniband. A war in the press, but not in the trenches.

      But that doesn't make good copy. Better to start flamewars, thus generating ad impressions.
      • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:19AM (#22031342) Homepage Journal

        Clearly their openness with the PS3 would suggest otherwise. (Many formats, HID complant USB and Bluetooth peripherals, etc..)
        What it suggests is that they were heavily focused on pushing Blu-Ray.

        They probably also saw that they had enough engineering hurdles to overcome with Cell and didn't need to make life more difficult for themselves in other areas just for the sake of it.
        • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:29AM (#22031406)
          Which is why they continue to add codecs that are generally used for non-commercial media, right? You can install Linux on it using a menu item which is specifically for that purpose, but the menu item ended up there because they were paying attention to other things. It was "easier" for them to support alternative operating systems, and to support customers that upgrade the hard drive themselves. They're not focused on the non-BluRay aspects, so they accidentally continue to add code that makes the system more open....

          Right...
          • by Broken scope (973885) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:40AM (#22031494) Homepage
            If I remember correctly, some people were saying that sony only added the linux feature so that it be could considered a personal computer which is taxed differently in the EU.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by sethstorm (512897) *
              Nice, but it doesn't mean much if you're in a hypervisor restricted sandbox without access to RSX or certain media functions. It's not as if there will be much threat (that can't be accounted for) if they did anyway.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by bogjobber (880402)
              That was the PS2. They shipped a hard drive and Linux, but it was hard to get in Europe and pretty much impossible elsewhere. But PS3 linux is pretty cool, and for me at least is the main reason why I like the PS3 over the 360.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Chuck Chunder (21021)
            Blu Ray is going to be worth an enormous amount of money to Sony.

            They need(ed) to get people to buy Blu Ray rather than HD DVD. To that end making their system more attractive (in any way) clearly helped that aim.

            Now it seems Blu Ray has won it will be interesting to see if PS3 development starts to be more tightly focused on directly making money with the PS3.
            • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:53AM (#22031610)

              Now it seems Blu Ray has won it will be interesting to see if PS3 development starts to be more tightly focused on directly making money with the PS3.


              Considering their announcement that the PS3 now costs under $400 to manufacture, you're probably right there. But that doesn't imply they're going to make the system less open. Their fancy graphics chip is still only accessible to licensees, and they seem to think that is sufficient for them to milk cash out of developers. It *is* sufficient.

              The PS3 seems to me to be more born of learning the lessons of their failings with the PSP, and not of their focus on BluRay.
          • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Monday January 14, 2008 @01:02AM (#22031670)
            Well Sauron's Ring of Power had some positive features for the user too. Invisibility, Kick Assitude, Frothing Megalomania to name but three, but that doesn't alter the fact its primary purpose was to bind people in the darkness. Same with Cocaine really.

            Don't let it fool you though. Pretty soon you'll be stealing from your best friends and family and/or selling your ass on the street to get the money for a copy of Eragon Special Edition BluRay though, unless you cast your PS3 into the fires of Mount Doom and buy a chipped Wii off eBay.
        • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:52AM (#22031602) Homepage Journal
          The PS3, in addition to using industry standards like USB (with standard USB ports as opposed to the original XBox), Bluetooth, 802.11g networking, DLNA, HDMI, etc., they used standard SATA HDD's and standard connectors. They added a side door and openly invite you to replace your HDD as you see fit. They give you a utility in the firmware to format the HDD, establish multiple partitions, and install other operating systems.

          Arguably, the PS3 is the most open console in history.
        • by DrXym (126579) on Monday January 14, 2008 @04:45AM (#22032590)
          What it suggests is that they were heavily focused on pushing Blu-Ray.

          And since there is no "open" standard for high definition discs, I fail to see what your point is. If you mean the standard with the largest industry support by a mile then Blu Ray is that standard.

          And the PS3 is an incredibly open and standards compliant device, especially considering it is a games console. Want to upgrade your HDD? Just whack in a 2.5" SATA drive with no bullshit 2x markup for drive in a special case. Networking? 802.11b/g wireless with full WEP/WPA support and gigaethernet are there to support you. Want to use a keyboard / mouse / storage device? USB is there to do it? Want to use a wireless mouse / keyboard / headset? It has blue tooth support? Want to save / restore files? Use CF, SD, MS, USB to do it. Want to talk wirelessly in-game? Want to play CDs, DVDs? Yes it does that, and rips CDs to MP3 or AAC too. Want to play MP3, AAC, JPG, PNG, MPEG2, H263 ASP (divx), H264 AVC files locally or streamed over a network? No problem. Want to stream? No problem it implements DNLA, an open standard. Want to run Linux? It supports that too. Or browse the web? No problem.

          The PS3 is an amazingly open device and you bitch that Sony dare push their own (widely supported) standard for just one aspect? You don't have to buy the device you know.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by samkass (174571)
          You're referring to Blu-Ray the open standards-based format? The one that tends to push MP4 over Microsoft's VC-1? And uses Java (a FOSS technology) over a Microsoft-generated interactive media format?

      • by QuantumG (50515)
        It's ashame the PS3 is so much a lame duck. Every part of it seems like it was invented by someone who either isn't human or doesn't live in human society. The menus and hardware doodads are so counterintuitive even the biggest geeks I know have to ask for the manual.
        • The XMB is featured on most Sony devices these days from their TVs, cameras, PS3's, PSPs, etc. This is honestly the first time I've ever come across a complaint for it.

          What exactly is your problem with the menu? It isn't incredible or perfect, but I don't see what is wrong with it.
          • by QuantumG (50515)
            Primarily, no two things that are related are next to each other.

      • How about the "war" between Bluetooth and WiFi?

        That was a bunch of hot air that didn't really go anywhere.
    • by Trixter (9555)
      "Sony obviously hasn't learned any lessons from the failure of minidisc, atrac, memory sticks, r-dat, sdds, HiFD, 8mm video, SACD, UMF, etc, etc (I'm sure I've missed a few failed sony formats)."

      You missed Betamax (consumer, not pro). Young whippersnapper :-)

      Unfortunately, with the way things are going with the major movie studios (only Universal still produces HD-DVD exclusively), it appears as if Sony has finally had their first media format war win with Blu-Ray. I guess they're really excited over ther
      • by hedwards (940851)
        And don't forget floppy disks for cameras. Although, the mini-dvds from what I hear are nice, as long as you have somewhere to set them down while they right.
      • by Tony (765) on Monday January 14, 2008 @01:28AM (#22031808) Journal
        Unlike Betamax, Blu-Ray is not just Sony. The original tech was developed by Sony and Pioneer, with final contributions by several other companies. Though still proprietary, Blu-Ray is a true multi-vendor format, with more companies involved than HD-DVD (which is primarily owned by Toshiba and NEC).

        So, I don't mind seeing Blu-Ray win. It's the technically-superior format, though the players are currently more expensive. (That should change as production volume increases.)

        As far as Betamax: it was arguably technically superior to VHS, but it was owned only by Sony, and so deserved the waterboarding it received, followed by a merciful death.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by squiggleslash (241428)

        Sony's won quite a few format wars. The CD was a Sony/Philips co-production, and of course, there's the 3.5" floppy.

        I wouldn't put Blu-ray in the winners camp yet. HD DVD may be about to die (and who really knows for sure? Just three months ago, 50% of the studios were in the HD DVD camp and HD DVD players had dropped to below $200. This thing is still playing out), but its death does not mean Blu-ray's victory. I'm about 90% convinced that consumers are not going to switch to Blu-ray from DVD en-mass. M

    • Memory sticks and UMD both sell fairly well.

      Just playing devil's advocate.

      And in the case of standards, you don't look at completely unrelated crap like the above post. You look at whether or not either of the two proposed standards have backing and specs to warrant mass adoption.
      • by AuMatar (183847)
        UMD sells so well everyone but Sony itself has stopped producing content for it. Yup, thats going great.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sony obviously hasn't learned any lessons from the failure of minidisc, atrac, memory sticks, r-dat, sdds, HiFD, 8mm video, SACD, UMF, etc, etc (I'm sure I've missed a few failed sony formats).

      Yes, obviously not. I hadn't heard of all of those acronyms, so here's a quick summary of Sony's history:

      - Minidisc and ATRAC? Licensed to several other companies, like JVC, Sharp, Pioneer, and Panasonic. Specially designed to require very little power to decode, unlike other codecs like MP3. Still somewhat popula

    • by king-manic (409855) on Monday January 14, 2008 @02:11AM (#22031996)
      It's not really meant to compete with USB. that just the interpretation of the author of the article. How is a 3cm range competing? It's simply a new device to device short rant interface. It's really ridiculous when each thing Sony is associated with or invents is part of a "format war". It's just the articles author trolling for eyes by using this obvious flame bait.
    • MD is still used since most mp3 players do not work as recorders.
    • From TFA

      The system is designed for maximum ease of use, which means limited options for controlling the transfers; devices will transfer their contents automatically to another device within range. ... Because the spec is designed to be both 1) low-power and 2) close range (to avoid interference problems), Sony went with an electric induction field coupler instead of more traditional radiation field antennas. Induction is the same tech used to charge cordless electric toothbrushes, and it's also being us
  • 3 cm? (Score:2, Redundant)

    That doesn't seem to be long enough range for a wireless device. Heck, I'd prefer a 5 cm usb 2.0 cable than that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      That's because this is not really a competitor for Wireless USB. Sony is not using this device to compete with USB, and whoever is behind this story probably knows it.

      This transferjet is just a very slick dock. That's all it is. It automatically transfers your media when you sit your product on the station. 3cm is a proxy for 0cm, since you are supposed to just sit it down.

      To compare this with wireless USB is ridiculous.
  • Jobs would be proud (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dkarma (985926)
    Sony is demanding the industry use their proprietary product / idea?
    Sounds like they're taking hints from Apple.
  • 3cm?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Atragon (711454) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:05AM (#22031258)
    What benefit is a 3cm range wireless connection? At that range you're practically pushing the devices against each other to get the antennas within 3cm. "Oh look, the contents of my pocket have shifted around and the pairing is broken."
    • yep, utterly pointless considering you get 100x the range with only a 8% decrease in transfer speed.
    • by aliquis (678370)
      Yeah, I can see the use for 3cm range, NOT, gg before it even started. Nice one Sony!
    • Re:3cm?! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jpetts (208163) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:35AM (#22031456)
      Benefit is that it is much more difficult for your device to be accessed maliciously. I can see a definite advantage in a system where you know that you must have such proximity to be able to effect data transfer. This is a good thing, since it requires intent before access can happen. Got a new device, and want to transfer your address book to it? No problem: just put the devices side by side and sync. Don't want anyone to be able to access your address book (yes, I'm talking to you, Paris)? Don't put your device alongside another device.

      This is a GOOD idea.
    • Seems perfect for M$ Surface [microsoft.com] actually.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by smallpaul (65919)
      It only took me 2 minutes of Googling to come up with this: "Want to give someone a video clip from your camera? Just stick it next to a phone with TransferJet embedded in it and press go. The file swaps over." "The technology, moreover, is somewhat insulated from privacy concerns because the two devices can only be 1.75 inches away from each other for the connection to work. Someone would have to snuggle up awfully close to extract the contact list from your phone." http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9842 [news.com]
    • Re:3cm?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dlevitan (132062) on Monday January 14, 2008 @01:01AM (#22031662)

      What benefit is a 3cm range wireless connection? At that range you're practically pushing the devices against each other to get the antennas within 3cm.

      "Oh look, the contents of my pocket have shifted around and the pairing is broken."
      I can definitely see benefits to this. Let's say you want to show the pictures you took of something to your family. Instead of finding a cord or trying to set up W-USB (which I assume requires authentication like bluetooth since its operates of fairly large distances) you just put the camera on the TV and everything works. Similarly, connecting a PDA or iPod or cell phone to a computer would be easy with this method. Or, your usb stick is now just a little box that you put near your computer and it just connects. I'm sure there are plenty of other possibilities. The benefits increase even more if you integrate wireless power charging into this.

      If Sony does this right - i.e. very easy to use, automatic authentication with no/little security (the 3 cm range is itself security), power charging, and customizable (so lots of devices can use this for different things), then it might very well catch on. On the other hand, they'll probably make it impossible to license, full of DRM and "security", and not allow standard drives to be developed. And then it will fail, which might actually be bad convenience wise.
  • 3cms is as good as wired, for all practical purposes. Just one advantage I see... no physical contacts means no wear and tear / dust in the contacts. I see this as a blunder, yet, knowing Sony, I am afraid they are going to keep pushing their mutant child with every gadget they make.
  • why anyone would prefer Sony's version?

    Okay, transfer rate is higher, and there's the "security" features... but those features also cripple it. Only useable over a distance of 3 centimeters? Wow... you can just see what will happen... a device with one of these gets nudged a half-inch and stops, well, working. (Before anyone jumps in that I can't do math, yes, I know 3 cm = 1.18 inches. But with such a short range, all it would take is a small nudge to put it out of range. And a half-inch is a very small n
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      You must be the most gullible person in the universe to think that a 3cm range device is meant to be a ranged device. Your devices are actually supposed to remain in full contact. You sit your cam down on the pad, and in a couple of seconds you pick it back up. There's nothing universal about it.

      This may be lame, but it's not Sony's version of USB wireless.

      On another note, since you set it down and pick it up pretty quick, it works like a can opener. If you nudge it half an inch and it stops working, you
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:50AM (#22031588)
      Imagine a stack of AV components with no wires interconnecting them. Buying a new DVD/BluRay player and adding it to the pile aand everything "just works", no cables or anything. Perhaps popping your MP3 player down on the stack and having it sync up (and probably charge too), still with no wires.

      That's what this is for. It has nothing to do with PCs, and it isn't a competitor to W-USB. It's unrelated. This story was written so this guy could get ad revenue off of links from sites like Slashdot, and all the other places guaranteed to pick up an inflammatory anti-Sony story.
  • "has embraced the W-USB standard, which promises transfer speeds of 480 Mbps at distances up to 3 meters, vs. TransfeJet's 3 centimeters." Considering there is 2.54 cm in an inch, this really doesn't sound too smart on Sony's part. Unless Slashdot is wrong....but what are the odds?
  • by fuocoZERO (1008261) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:16AM (#22031322) Journal

    ...In Asia 3cm is long!

    (Tasteless humor I know, but I had to. Really.)

  • 3cm, it will be only usefull for small appliance like camera or pda, I will never let my printer or scanner at 3cm of my computer.
    And I need more speed for camera or pda than I need for printer and scanner, but 520mbps is no enough anyways.
  • It won't make a lick of difference. Sony will just have customers complaining about why their new device won't work with Sony's device. Belkin and IOGear already have the reference designs for WUSB (USB-IF uses Belkin's implementation to test other implementations, if I recall correctly what Belkin's rep at CES said to me), and both have a really solid grip on that market.
  • Standards. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Oliver Hope (1219124) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:18AM (#22031336)
    Sony's mom is an open standard.

    But really...3 centimeters? Are they joking? Why not just plug it in at that point...
  • Apples vs. Oranges (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bieeanda (961632)
    Sony's apparatus looks like it's meant as nothing more than an idiot-proofed memory stick that you don't actually have to plug in anywhere, rather than a Bluetooth competitor. They're probably aiming it at the population that is intimidated by anything that smacks of networking.
  • 3cm is a Good Thing (Score:5, Informative)

    by enoz (1181117) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:25AM (#22031378)
    So far most of the replies here are bemoaning the fact that the transfer distance is only 3cm, but from reading Sony's Press Release [sony.net] it appears obvious why the distance is restricted such.

    The protocol is promoted to be "touch-and-go", not requiring any setup or user intervention. Thus you simply "touch" (meaning bringing within 3cm) a device and an action is performed automatically - such as downloading your photos or displaying a video.

    This has the possibility of simplifying connections (we'll have to wait and see if it works) and the 3cm distance makes it such that you have to consciously activate the connection, possibly saving you from embarrassing situations.
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:26AM (#22031392)
    I drive a desk most days, and purchased a Logitech Wireless mouse. Not sure what protocol it uses, but I ended up trading it in for the wired version, as I was tired of hunting for new batteries every month.

    So now it's possible someone will have at their desk/home:

    -Logitech's Wireless protocol (http://www.mstarmetro.net/~rlowens/?n=Logitech.Protocols)
    -Bluetooth (which can be a PITA to associate two devices together)
    -Wireless USB
    -801.11a|b|g|n

    All I ask is, can I have a few more wireless protocols? The first three do the same things. In LAN networking, we've gone through different speed iterations of Ethernet, I relish the day when 'short distance device connectivity' reaches the same maturity.
  • I friend of mine holds the theory that the way to determine if a technology will be a success is to see if pornographers adopt it. ( Presuming that they can use it in some fashion. ) When they do, you can presume that it is established.
    • Well, I suppose you can 'touch' the cell phone in your pocket together with the one in her pocket and exchange all kinds of data...

      The next big thing will be RF condoms for all your Sony products to prevent an inadvertent exchange of unspeakable images.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I doubt pornographers will adopt this. While it is to be promoted as "touch-and-go", it's only good for 3cms.

    • your friend didn't invent this theory, everyone cites it to backup every half remembered "history lesson". pornographers aren't the biggest spenders, they'll use whatever's cheapest which usually means what's already established and makes them trend-followers not trend-setters. regardless, it's obvious that pornographers have no use for anything that's only 3cm
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:32AM (#22031430)
    I'm not sure, but from reading the article it seems that the technologies have different purposes. Sony's technology isn't even trying to address the same issues bluetooth, RF, or IR are. Sony's technology uses inductance, instead of antennas, this pretty much assumes that even though there is a 3cm range, the devices are touching.

    With this technology, your PC or laptop might have a input "pad surface" on it which would start file transfers when you set your device on top of it, and end the connectivity when you lifted it.

    I can see this having benefits for certain applications that the other, longer range technologies don't. With technologies that have a longer range, simple proximity to the machine cannot determine intent. You would have to manually start data transfer from one of the devices, because simply being within range would not necessarily mean someone wanted to transfer files.

    Whereas the 3cm inductance tech, just setting the devices together would signify intent to start communication.

    I haven't read up on the technology, but if Sony's intent was for a way to transfer data from storage devices such as flash memory, the Host device could power the flash device through inductance, as well as transfer data through the same technology. I don't think this is in competition with any other tech.. It's basically a way of making flash memory with high data throughput that does not have to make electrical contact with the device it is in. No oxidation of connectors, no inserting devices in incorrectly.. solves a lot of problems, and makes things waaay easier for the average consumer. It basically gets rid of the need for different sized slots on your pc, because no matter what kind of storage you have, the devices DON'T HAVE TO GO INTO SLOTS.

    I know bashing Sony is the trendy thing to do. But to me, this technology seems like it could have a lot of positives for interoperability. This doesn't really seem all that Anti-consumer to me t all..

  • Could someone out there give an explanation about why they are not just updating the Bluetooth specs? I know current bluetooth speeds are on the slow side, but that could be fixed.
    You could have a wireless standard that is already backwards compatible with many cell phones, PDAs and laptops and lots of devices. Instead, we are going to have a bunch of devices trying to fit in 3 wireless standards, at least for a few years. This, bluetooth and Wi-Fi (plus the phone network stuff for cells).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ivan256 (17499)
      Bluetooth isn't UWB for starters. You couldn't really make this "backwards compatible" without dual implementations. The only reason to "update Bluetooth" for this would be to leverage the branding.
  • I must say this is stupid of Sony, I am happy to hear of the recent likely win of the HD war, at least it'll settle things for consumers in the upcoming years, one standard is better, period.

    That being said in the case of this one, that's just stupid, 3cm range is absoloutely pointless, when another option 15% slower works 100x further - sounds great to me.

    On that note, I've been wondering for a few years, when will we have bluetooth (or wireless usb?) devices where you simply put your mobile phone near you
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:39AM (#22031482) Journal
    Wireless USB seems to be about setting up a network of various devices without wires. Reduce desktop clutter, I suppose.

    Sony's technology is based on touching your mp3 player to a pad connected to your computer-filling it up with new data-- no bandwidth to share, no strange interference problems to solve. It's one to one, rather than a network. It's simple, but it's not designed to connect scanners or printers or hard drives.

    Matter of fact, why would you want your printer or scanner to use wireless USB instead of 802.11n? And why are wireless hard drives so important? Wouldn't you rather use a secure, reliable, fast USB3 connection?
    • by IdahoEv (195056)

      Sony's technology is based on touching your mp3 player to a pad connected to your computer-filling it up with new data


      But the pad will have to have a wire to the computer. Doesn't this kind of defeat the purpose? I suppose you could have the pad connect to the computer with a longer range technology like W-USB, but then what's the point of the pad in the first place?
  • by mlts (1038732) * on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:41AM (#22031502)
    What W-USB and Transferjet don't seem to have, but Bluetooth has had for a couple iterations is a decent form of device to device encryption.

    If Transferjet was just a protocol that topped out at 3cm, and was totally unreceivable at 1 meter, encryption would be less of an issue. However, even at distances of 3-10 meters, that would be a target of opportunity in some cases. I know that even at the short ranges that Bluetooth works at, I can always find 2-3 people with a Bluetooth enabled phone almost anywhere, and that's with no special equipment, other than a Bluetooth enabled smartphone.

    IMHO, encryption needs are a must for any wireless protocol. For example, if people start using W-USB for hard disks, it wouldn't be difficult for someone with a high gain antenna to detect and start injecting packets to read data off (or just format the drive). An attacker can also just passively watch what is shooting across the airwaves to slowly gain a picture of the hard disk's contents.
  • by JustShootMe (122551) * <rmiller@duskglow.com> on Monday January 14, 2008 @12:41AM (#22031508) Homepage Journal
    I think I'll start my own standards war. I went to the restroom today and streamed about a pint at a distance of two feet. Who wants to work on higher capacity and lower distance?

    It's Wireless USPee.
    • "Who wants to work on higher capacity and lower distance?"

      That standard already exists. It's called POOP (Proximity-Oriented Object Projection) Higher volume, shorter range.
    • by RuBLed (995686)
      Ahh yes.. but the problem there is connectivity, If you're constantly dropping the connection after a minute or two no one would like it. But if you could make it stream 10 GigaPints for one hour on a distance of two feet.. we'd talk...
  • After getting their butts handed to them on every other "alternative standard" they've tried to foist upon us (Beta, Memory Stick, MiniDisc, and ATRAC, to name a few), they finally got a win with Blu-Ray and now they've gotten frisky. I wish I understood why Sony keeps on trying to reinvent the wheel.
  • 3 cm from where?
    From where the module is located on the laptop? So to use my Wireless USB drive I have to have it sitting under my laptop??

    For crying out loud, what the hell is wrong with Sony??
  • by Osrin (599427) * on Monday January 14, 2008 @01:00AM (#22031654) Homepage
    ... is now called "a standards war". This is a complex and self serving world that we live in.
    • by Aladrin (926209) on Monday January 14, 2008 @06:50AM (#22033116)
      I see both sides, but in this case, I think they're right.

      When companies compete and the consumer wins, it's competition.

      When companies compete and the consumer losers, it's a standards war.

      For instance: Tech X is created. Company A and B compete to create the best and cheapest device that uses Tech X, including interface, style, functionality, etc. This is competition.

      Tech Y and Tech Z are created and basically do the same thing, but a little differently. Company A works on devices for Tech X, but B works on devices for Tech Z. The consumer is stuck with one company after they buy the initial product. There's no way for them to use Z's new accessory with Y's original product. Worse, the price competition isn't as sharp since the companies can leverage the accessories to garner sales, instead of using how good and cheap the product actually is.

      As far as HDDVD and Bluray, though... I don't think there's a need to have a 'standard' at all. Let them both exist, and movie producers can create discs in all formats. For the number of movies produced, there won't be any real difference in cost to do it that way. The only reason it makes any difference to the consumer is that they are signing everyone to exclusive contracts and screwing the consumer.
  • by Nurf (11774) on Monday January 14, 2008 @01:18AM (#22031744) Homepage
    The heading and summary is a load of horseshit.

    TransferJet is intended for transfer at high speeds over distances of around an inch. It uses negligible amounts of power and is very fast.

    W-USB has a range of 10 feet, it uses some power, but not much, and is a little slower. It has 100 times the range of TransferJet.

    They are intended for completely different markets. TransferJet is a intended for "base station" or "cradle" type applications where you would want to transfer data very fast, and don't want to have to muck with yet another cable. So, for example, you sit your HD Videocam on top of the DVR and the DVR gets a copy of the footage you just took.

    They don't compete. They are for different things. There is no standards war here. It's like complaining that Xerox PARC were starting a standards war with keyboard manufacturers by releasing the mouse.

    So, credit to kdawson for posting inflammatory drivel.
    • by gsslay (807818)
      Surely not! kdawson posting a biased commentary stemming from ars technica article?? When does this ever happen?

      Unfortunately Sony can't win here as it has joined Microsoft in the slashdot hate club. It used to be that development of new technology was a welcome sight, and whether it was a success depended on the market and its true value. This used to be a sign of a vibrant, competitive and innovative industry.

      Apparently no longer. Competing technology is a standards war. Independent innovation is pr
  • by illogict (889976) on Monday January 14, 2008 @01:34AM (#22031840) Homepage

    I know that Sony is one of the most evilest corporation for /.ers, and more generally geeks, but I just can't keep wondering why.

    First, even the summary, as the linked article, is FUD : obviously, as InstantJet supports only ranges up to 3cm, it is not meant to be a competitor to Wireless-USB as all. It practically needs physical contact between appliances, it works with induction! Do you really think that Sony oughts to see this technology used to connect say a computer and a printer, which are obviously more than 3cm away?

    Instead, it seems it is meant to be used between a camera and a printer: you lay the camera on the induction surface on the printer, you select the photos you want to print, and voilà! Of course, this use-case is not meant for smarter people, who will retrieve the photos on their computer thanks to Wireless-USB, and send them to their printer over Wi-Fi, and for geekier, who will connect using USB 3.0 (or retrieve the memory card and put it on their computer's slot), and send the photos to their printer thanks to 10Gb/s Ethernet.

    I see this technology as being meant for Alice and Bob, who want to easily and wirelessly interconnect appliances without a computer. They get security for free (comparing to radio-based technologies).

    But it seems not so much people sees that, and does instead see this news as a mean to keep on flaming on Sony.

  • different uses (Score:3, Informative)

    by nguy (1207026) on Monday January 14, 2008 @03:05AM (#22032190)
    I don't think these technologies have the same purpose. Sony's technology is for something like communicating between a cell phone and a printer; the fact that it's short-range is a feature, since placing the devices close together apparently initiates the connection. WUSB is for replacing USB cables, for devices that are several feet away. You could probably adapt WUSB for the same functions as Transferjet, but that's not WUSB's primary use.
  • by XNormal (8617) on Monday January 14, 2008 @03:10AM (#22032218) Homepage
    I don't see any problem. This is a different standard targeting different applications with a diffrent usage model.

    Instead of complex pairing rituals required for longer range wireless communication at 3cm it's pretty clear which device you are communicating with so this has a completely different user experience. I also suspect that it's much cheaper and serves applications at a different price point. The close-range standard should work very nicely with the various wireless power schemes using magnetic induction that have about the same range.

    So "war" is only a problem if you get stuck on which one of them gets to be called the wireless USB. In other words, it's only an issue for technologists. From an end user's point of view they have little in common.

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