TI jumps onto ultrawideband wagon

The chipmaker joins the WiMedia Alliance, which is pushing the wireless networking technology as a low-cost, power-stingy alternative to Bluetooth.

Chipmaker Texas Instruments wants to make sure its voice is heard in the development of ultrawideband technology.

TI said Wednesday that it has joined the WiMedia Alliance, which is pushing the wireless networking technology, as a promoter member. It will also serve on the board of directors. The industry group is developing interoperability specifications and certification programs.

Ultrawideband (UWB) technology has been hailed by supporters for its ability to send data at high rates of speed while making only modest demands on a device's power source. It's seen as a less-expensive alternative for short-range wireless communications to Bluetooth, the most popular "personal area network" technology, which has been embraced by cell phone and handheld computer makers.

The WiMedia Alliance says ultrawideband is suited to streaming high-definition video from a set-top box to a television set. It can handle the large amounts of data better than existing short-range wireless technologies.

Last year, TI and chipmaker Intel ditched plans to come up with competing standards for ultrawideband and opted instead to merge their ideas into a single proposal to the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The technology that wins out in IEEE deliberations will be known as the 802.15.3a standard.

More recently, TI announced its support for efforts by a separate group, the MultiBand OFDM Alliance, to publish a UWB 1.0 standard by May.