LAS VEGAS -- Sony Corp. unveiled Sunday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a new proprietary Near Field wireless technology called TransferJet, whose underlying technology is based on a variation of UWB.
TransferJet allows high-speed wireless data transfer from a camcorder, for example, to a flat panel HDTV, simply by placing the camcorder on top of a wireless filed unit.
TransferJet, operating in 4.5GHz frequency range, is capable of 560Megabits per second PHY rate at a distance of up to 1.25-inch. TransferJet uses a direct-sequence spread spectrum modulation technique, in which the transmitted signal takes up more bandwidth than the information signal that is being modulated.
Ko Togashi, deputy general manager of Sony's network software development dept., told E.E.Times, "We reversed the basic principle in which this industry has been fighting in a variety of wireless technology battles. Rather than racing to offer a faster data rate at a longer distance, we asked ourselves, 'what if we kept the wireless distance very short?'"
It's "an intuitive act" for consumers to place a device " a camcorder, for example " close to another device, on which they want to display video, explained Togashi. Rather than cabling the two, or setting up a complex wireless network, "We let consumers bring the two devices very close " almost touching each other."
The end result is a very fast data transfer at lower power with less of the signal interference of UWB. "And less UWB regulatory worries," he said.
Today, Wireless USB based on the WiMedia Alliance's UWB common radio platform, for example, is said to be capable of sending 480 Mbps at distances up to 3 meters and 110 Mbit/s at up to 10 meters. Although it's designed to operate in the 3.1 to 10.6 GHz frequency range, UWB has been known to run into regulatory issues, as local policies in some countries restrict the legal operating range.
Sony has been working on its UWB-based TransferJet system since 2005, according to Togashi. The Japanese company deliberately did not propose its proprietary technology in standards groups such as IEEE, largely because the industry forums showed scant interest in the idea of wirelessly transferring data over a very short distance.
Sony believes that TransferJet could co-exist with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Togashi acknowledged, "While NFC can take care of payment, TransferJet can download content."
Although TransferJet's first public live performance did not go smoothly, the technology demonstration, after the press conference, appeared to be working pretty well.
When asked about the stability of its technology, Togashi said, "We see no problems with TransferJet protocols."
Sony has also developed its own TransferJet chips. TransferJet chips are now small enough to be embedded into a dongle, said Togashi.
The biggest challenge for Sony, however, lies in finding partners and making TransferJet a broadly-adopted popular wireless technology.
Tailoring the wireless technology to specific near-field application is another challenge. "We need to make sure that the wireless connection works every time when consumers bring one device close to another," said Togashi.
Sony plans to commercialize TransferJet-based products in 2009.