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Sony Starts a Standards War Over Wireless USB

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the don't-stand-so-close-to-me dept.

Wireless Networking 401

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 obviously.... (4, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031224)

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:Sony obviously.... (2, Interesting)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031254)

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...

Re:Sony obviously.... (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Losing a battle to win a war. (5, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031342)

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.

Re:Losing a battle to win a war. (3, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#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...

Re:Losing a battle to win a war. (4, Interesting)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031494)

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:Losing a battle to win a war. (2, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031554)

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.

Re:Losing a battle to win a war. (5, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Losing a battle to win a war. (4, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Losing a battle to win a war. (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031602)

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.

Bluetooth obviously.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031388)

"It appears to be for device->device transfers, where W-USB (like regular USB) seems to be towards host->device and device->host transfers."

Isn't that what bluetooth was suppose to be for?

Re:Bluetooth obviously.... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031468)

Since when is Bluetooth UWB and multi-hundred Mbps? This is 100+ times faster than Bluetooth. It is clearly *not* designed for the same uses. I doubt they will be competing at all.

I'd imagine this will be used more for something like connecting all your stereo components together (including video switching) without connecting any wires between them, etc...

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031404)

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.

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031616)

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.

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031646)

Primarily, no two things that are related are next to each other.

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

the-ambiguity (1023553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031280)

Yeah, but How is Blu-Ray doing?

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

longacre (1090157) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031450)

One out of 10 ain't bad. Of course, whatever they've made off their development of the CD and now what they'll make from Blu-Ray would (and probably will) pay for dozens more failed formats. Why is anyone's guess.

I guess they thought... (1)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031338)

they're pushing one format (Blu-Ray) and it seems to be doing well enough, why not try another? I can't believe anyone in a company would think limiting the control over transfers would be a good idea, but it is sony so if it was going to come from anywhere, that would be the place.
 
What leverage do they have with their technology (other than bandwidth) to compete in this arena? The average person isn't going to notice a difference of 80 Mbps (theoretical maximum difference) when they're transferring a few pictures from the digital camera. They will notice the difference between having to buy and have a base plugged into their PCs where they have to drop everything to get it to transfer versus setting it on the desk somewhere and having it hook up to the PC automatically.
 
I personally liked minidiscs for their durability, portability (even better than tape) and rewritability relative to burned CDs.

Will you people get over Memory Stick? Please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031358)

Seriously, Memory Stick was the last straw? When it was competing with MMC/SD, CF, xD, and SmartMedia? And when MMC and SmartMedia are the only formats that have died in the meantime?

If you want to blame them for execution (bad licensing terms, slow, small, and expensive at first, and they had to break compatibility to fix all that), go right ahead. Sony bungled that, for sure. I had a pre-MSPro Clie PDA, so I speak from experience.

When my family got together for the holidays, there wasn't much swapping of memory cards. Of the five of us who brought cameras, two used Memory Stick, two used SD, and one used xD. I could add CF to the list, but my cousin left his Nikon at home. So there's still plenty of blame to go around.

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031396)

Sony has actually done pretty well in formats. Minidisc was very profitable, as were others.

But anyway, this story is pure FUD. This transferjet thing doesn't compete with wireless USB. It's just a different thing that also transfers data wirelessly. This transferjet was like those Kodak Easyshare camera docks. It's about automating the uploading of media files. It's not about the wireless standard.

Oh, and memory sticks are great. They are very durable, etc. I know it's fashionable to hate Sony. You're free to hate away, but I'm pretty sure this is much ado about nothing.

Re:Sony obviously.... (4, Informative)

utopianfiat (774016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031638)

Sorry, SD for life.
But mostly because it's a card that is supported natively by my laptop, my game console (wii), my digital camera (canon powershot a50), and my gps (garmin nuvi). At $40 for two 2g-ers, you can't go wrong. It's like my new floppy.

Surprise UMD (1)

enoz (1181117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031426)

Actually, the last thing I heard [gamespot.com] was that the UMD format was growing in Japan.

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

Nosferatu Alucard (713350) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031452)

Out of curiosity, what's wrong with Memory Sticks? I have a Cybershot and haven't had any problems with it for years. Plus my laptop came with a memory card reader slot so I never have to dig out the transfer cables.

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031522)

Let me guess - you have a Sony laptop.

Re:Sony obviously.... (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031540)

Most 5-in-one readers support memory stick, actually. I've got an Acer that supports it. Never used it because I don't have any Sony devices that take memory sticks, but the logo is there...

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

Trixter (9555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031556)

"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 there and are trying to figure out what other stuff they can win now...

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031672)

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.

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031572)

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.

Re:Sony obviously.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031584)

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 popular in Japan.

- Memory sticks? Still around, like CF and SD, and unlike some earlier open standards. Again, licensed to other companies, like SanDisk and Lexar.

- DAT? Digital and recordable on small tapes, in the mid-1980's -- can you even buy anything today that's comparable? Loved by countless, especially in the music industry (Karajan: "All else is gaslight").

- SDDS? Used by over a thousand films, and installed in many thousands of theatres. Though less popular than other systems like Dolby (despite having a far higher bitrate than Dolby Digital), many films are still released with a SDDS track.

- HiFD: an attempt by Sony to make a 150MB, backwards-compatible 3.5" disk. Failed horribly, for various reasons. Note that the old 3.5" disk they were trying to overtake was Sony's to begin with; Apple bought Sony drives to put in their now-famous 128K Mac.

- 8mm video: introduced with the Sony Handycam. Compared to VHS and Betamax cameras of the day, it was smaller, had similar video quality, and better audio quality. 8mm and its successors dominated the market for almost 2 decades, until digital video arrived and squashed everybody. Not a "failure" by any stretch of the imagination.

- SACD: attempted successor to CD audio (along with DVD-Audio), but CDs are good enough for most people. Hybrid SACDs are backwards-compatible, so you may actually own some (I do!) even if you have no intention of buying a SACD player. Not officially dead, but not a runaway success, either.

- UMD (not "UMF") is the portable optical disc used by the PSP. They've sold 25 million PSPs since it started shipping just over 3 years ago, so averaging around 22,000 per day since then. Hard to see how this could be called a "failure", either.

So let's see... licensed to other big companies, licensed to other big companies, awesome technology, good technology that didn't end up being that popular, failed attempt to replace their own 3.5" floppy, technology that dominated its field for 2 decades, failed attempt to replace their own audio CDs, optical disc for one of the most popular handheld video game systems.

Yeah, I'm sure they're crying all the way to the bank. What's the "lesson" you want them to have learned here? If they build their own, they can license it to others? That they should stop trying to innovate at all, despite huge successes like the 3.5" floppy, CD audio, and 8mm video? Sony is big and rich because they build things people want, more often than not -- not simply because the Japanese' eyes are closer to the electronic components.

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.

<Randall Graves> You'll be missed!

Re:Sony obviously.... (1)

phlawed (29334) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031596)

seconded. I am about to buy a flash-based camcorder. Sony is neither on the long or short list of manufacturers/models I consider. And I made sure to let the people in the shop know why.

Can't touch this! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031230)

Hammertime! [thepounder.com]

3 cm? (1, Redundant)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031242)

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.

3 cm is enough for Eddie Murphy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031350)

Well, step aside my friend
I've been doing it for years
I say, sit on down, open your eyes
And open up your ears

Say
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Put a bumblebee in your butt
Put a clock in your butt
Put a big rock in your butt
Put some fleas in your butt
Start to sneeze in your butt
Put a tin can in your butt
Put a little tiny man in your butt
Put a light in your butt
Make it bright in your butt
Put a TV in your butt
Put me in your butt
Everybody say

I, hey, that's, man, I ain't putting no trees in nobody's butt,
no bees in nobody's butt, putting nothing--
You must be out your mind, man,
y'all get paid for doing this?
Cause y'all gotta get some kind of money
Cause this don't sound like the kind of--
I'd rather golf, to be perfectly honest,
than put somethin in somebody's butt
to be truthful

Well step aside my friend and let me
show you how you do it
When big bad E just rock rock to it

Put a metal case in your butt
Put her face in your butt
Put a frown in your butt
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Put everything in your butt
Just start to sing about your butt
Feels real good

Re:3 cm? (2, Informative)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031422)

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.

KIKE+ SLOPE = JAP JEW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031542)

Sony is made up of greedy Japanese Jews with circumcised 3cm penises.

Can Sony just die, please... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031248)

I really don't have much to say here but to reiterate my wish that Sony would go away.

Re:Can Sony just die, please... (1)

denisbergeron (197036) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031346)

What, you prefer MS or Apple "OPEN TECHNOLOGIES" ?

Re:Can Sony just die, please... (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031472)

Agreed. Hopefully W-USB will entirely replace Bluetooth, much the way USB 2.0 has replaced all the benefit that Firewire had. I love how royalty-free always wins.

(Yes, I know IEEE 1394 spec has some things better than USB in general, but there's no royalty on USB).

Doubt TransferJet will work on Linux any time soon.

Jobs would be proud (3, Interesting)

dkarma (985926) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031250)

Sony is demanding the industry use their proprietary product / idea?
Sounds like they're taking hints from Apple.

Re:Jobs would be proud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031374)

Yeah. Like when Apple introduced the first PCs with Firewire and became the first significant adopter of USB, and Sony followed. Nothing ever came of those interconnects.

Where do you see "demand" in this story? Where do you even see that anybody but this analyst considers these to be competing technologies? Oh, wait. You didn't even RTFA.

Other way around. (1)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031418)

They were doing that before Apple was a company.

3cm?! (4, Insightful)

Atragon (711454) | more than 6 years ago | (#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."

Re:3cm?! (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031348)

yep, utterly pointless considering you get 100x the range with only a 8% decrease in transfer speed.

Re:3cm?! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031438)

Yeah, I can see the use for 3cm range, NOT, gg before it even started. Nice one Sony!

Re:3cm?! (4, Interesting)

jpetts (208163) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:3cm?! (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031524)

Explain to me how this is better then just plugging a device in? That requires intent. Got a new device and want to transfer your address book to it? Plug it in. Don't want anyone to be able to access it? Don't connect to their device.

The 3 cm range combines almost a complete lack of usefullness with a sense of false security.

Re:3cm?! (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031570)

Well there's always the fact that transferring via cable requires tedious, usually expensive, and proprietary cables, whereas low range wireless would give you all the same benefits without requiring a physical cable.

That said, sony have pissed away decades of credability and company integrity in the last couple of years for little or no gain, so who knows what they're thinking.

Re:3cm?! (1)

rachit (163465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031660)

You can get in 3cm pocket-to-pocket range by simply brushing by them while walking in the subway, etc.

Besides, I'm sure some enterprising hacker can create a larger, yet portable sensitive antenna that gets more range than 3 cm.

3 cm is a limitation, not a feature.

3cm?!-P2P. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031500)

What? You've never heard of Pocket to Pocket transfer?

Re:3cm?! (1)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031566)

Seems perfect for M$ Surface [microsoft.com] actually.

Re:3cm?! (2, Informative)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031628)

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_3-9842512-7.html [news.com]

Re:3cm?! (4, Insightful)

dlevitan (132062) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Zonk the Hot Bottom ESCORT Dude! - m4m -29 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031260)

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Re:Zonk the Hot Bottom ESCORT Dude! - m4m -29 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031296)

What website is this mocking? I want to, uh, laugh at it.

3 cms offers no advantages over wired USB (2, Insightful)

Prodigy Savant (543565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031262)

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.

Re:3 cms offers no advantages over wired USB (1)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031442)

3cm is really just a proxy for 0cm. You aren't supposed to use this like wireless USB, and it's absurd to compare the too. Sony certainly isn't. This is FUD.

You set the device on the transferjet and it determines which files you haven't moved onto yet and does so. It categorizes them automatically. It's a freaking dock. It's not for keyboards or TVs or anything like that. It is certainly not a universal serial connection.

The 3cm is actually over-engineering, not under.

I think this is a stupid product, but it's great for those who are boobs with cameras and computers. I guess slashdot has run out of CES stories, so it's making them up as it goes along.

So, someone explain to me (2, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031274)

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 nudge.)

Re:So, someone explain to me (2, Interesting)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031478)

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 just put it in place and it's done in a few seconds. It's not a flaw at all. the device knows whether you want to upload your files solely because the device is in range. You don't have to push buttons or look to see what files have moved already or categorize where the files go. Once it's in range, it automates everything and you are done in a few seconds.

This has nothing to do with USB. The Sony haters are really blowing their credibility. Sony's on fire this year. Granted, I have no use for this device, but I can think of many who do. USB wireless can't compete with this, because it's entirely a different thing.

Re:So, someone explain to me (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031598)

If they're supposed to remain in contact, why even have a range at all? Why not have it plug in to something?

Re:So, someone explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031574)

>why anyone would prefer Sony's version?

Individuality. Because there aren't two people in this world stupid enough to buy this shit.

Re:So, someone explain to me (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:So, someone explain to me (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031640)

Again, with a 3 cm range, they're either going to have to be stacked in a very interesting topological manner (which, okay, could look rather neat), or they're going to have to be so close to some central hub that they might as well be plugged in anyway.

Ummm....3 centimeters?!? (1)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031278)

"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?

3cm only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031300)

3cm wont be able to hit the G-Spot

is it just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031320)

Is it just me or is Sony compensating for something by making theirs faster? ah hell, I can see the -1 as I was typing that.

Insensitive people... (4, Funny)

fuocoZERO (1008261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031322)

...In Asia 3cm is long!

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

Re:Insensitive people... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031428)

rong

Choice is good, innit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031324)

So what's wrong with a private company putting its money on the line and going to the market with an alternative standard? Last time I heard, forking was not a right reserved just to Linux distros.

 

This is not the same purpose (1)

denisbergeron (197036) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031330)

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.

Another competing non-standard (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031332)

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. (5, Funny)

Oliver Hope (1219124) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (2, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031360)

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.

Re:Apples vs. Oranges (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031414)

I fail to see how something with such a short range makes it idiot-proof. In fact, given the remarkably small range, it makes it more likely that some irate middle-aged man will slam the thing down on a computer desk and scream that it doesn't work while his younger co-worker/relative tries to explain that it needs to be much closer to the receiving system to work.

Meanwhile, everyone using the wireless system with the 3-meter range will be able to have the freedom to move around and not have to inscribe little circle templates on everything to indicate the radius of operability.

Not a competitor (0, Redundant)

Gygash (1039106) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031364)

Maybe I misread TFA, but this doesn't strike me as aiming to be competition to W-USB. The press release [sony.net] states that it's intended for transferring large files over short distances - for example, from your video camera to your TV.

It's meant to simplify file transfer, not power USB devices or peripherals.

Re:Not a competitor (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031458)

With a range of 3 centimeters, the video camera transmitting part would have to practically be touching the TV receiving part. Now, I haven't looked at most brands of video cameras or TVs, but it seems that they're not generally constructed with a 3 centimeter transmission range in mind.

Yes, it's more "secure" in that your neighbors or the creepy guy down the hall won't be able to intercept it given the amazingly short allowable transmission range, but when weighed against the usefulness of the incredibly short transmission range (i.e. none to speak of).... it seems incredibly pointless for Sony to try and push this.

3cm is a Good Thing (5, Informative)

enoz (1181117) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:3cm is a Good Thing (0)

acoustix (123925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031550)

How many people do you know that have their printer within 2 inches of the tower? In my experience: none.

Nick

Do we really need another wireless standard? (2, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

CM eh? (1)

Demanche (587815) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031398)

TransferJet Specifications Central Frequency 4.48GHz Transmission Power -70dBm/MHz or less (average power) Corresponds with low intensity radio wave regulations in Japan, and with local regulations in respective overseas regions. Transmission Rate 560Mbps (Max.) / effective 375Mbps It is capable of selecting the appropriate transmission rate depending on the wireless environment. Communication Distance Within 3cm No Joke.. heh .... TransferJet is an extremely simple wireless technology which eliminates the need for complex setup and operation. For example, just touching a TV with a digital camera enables photos to be instantaneously displayed on the TV screen. Alternatively, downloaded music content can be easily enjoyed by touching a mobile phone to a portable audio player. TransferJet can be used as a Universal Interface among a wide variety of consumer electronics devices.

Porn (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031412)

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.

Re:Porn (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031470)

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:Porn (2, Funny)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031484)

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

Re:Porn (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031562)

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

Technologies have different focus (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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..

Bluetooth? (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031466)

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:Bluetooth? (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031624)

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 am not a Blu Ray hater,......... (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031480)

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 your PC at work / home each day and an explorer window opens up with a new drive window ready to work with? (as long as it's on the allowed list, of course) - that would be great.

Is it really a competitor to Wireless USB? (2, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031482)

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?

Re:Is it really a competitor to Wireless USB? (1)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031626)

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?

What about encryption? (2, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Streaming media (3, Funny)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031508)

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.

Re:Streaming media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22031592)

If you drink enough yeasty beer, you can stream about a quart, but only 8 inches, if you sit.

You use a different orifice to deliver the stream. It takes longer to develop the payload than your USPee data, but diarrhea is more colorful.

Re:Streaming media (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031656)

Oh I bet you can get two feet if you bear down.

Maybe that's equivalent to a higher voltage standard.

Re:Streaming media (1)

superdan2k (135614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031648)

"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.

Re:Streaming media (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031674)

Very good point. It's a different hardware interface, so it needs different drivers...

Re:Streaming media (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031668)

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...

stupid (1)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031560)

this is stupid.

if sony wants me to buy their thing, they need to focus on speed, not some stupid 3cm range wireless.

honestly, guys. you call 3cm wireless? yeah... it's wireless, but not tetherless. still tethered to 3cm, as far as i'm concerned.

So in other words... (1)

jht (5006) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031576)

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.

3cm?!?! (1)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031630)

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??

Funny, what used to be called competition... (3, Insightful)

Osrin (599427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22031654)

... is now called "a standards war". This is a complex and self serving world that we live in.
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