A while back, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, or SIG (www.bluetooth.com), announced that it was adopting Ultra Wideband (UWB) as a connectivity standard. The way it works is that if you need the more traditional, ubiquitous, low-power (and slower) connection, you connect with Bluetooth. If you require a higher bandwidth connection, mostly for sending video signals, you use UWB, which operates at 480 Mbits/s.
The next step following this announcement was to determine which flavor of UWB would be adopted by the Bluetooth SIG. Essentially, there were two choices, multi-band orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (MB-OFDM), supported by the WiMedia Alliance (www.wimedia.org), and direct-sequence UWB (DS-UWB), supported by the UWB Forum. After much ado, the group chose the WiMedia Alliance's MB-OFDM UWB (see related story at www.mobilehandsetdesignline.com/news/184400651).
The place where this arrangement is sure to have an impact is in the handset. That's where the majority of Bluetooth radios currently reside. Having a standard in place will help ensure a more thorough adoption, rather than having it done in a more ad-hoc manner.
On the heels of this announcement (literally 28 minutes later in my In-Box), Alereon (www.alereon.com) announced its support for the SIG's decision. Obviously, there were in the OFDM camp, and they've also been one of the leaders of the technology.
Hopefully this announcement, coupled with support from the UWB community, will result in combined Bluetooth-UWB products sooner, rather than later.