In-Stat says UWB will disappear by 2013: EE Times writes about In-Stat's latest report on ultrawideband, in which the analysis firm says the short-range technology, best suited for personal area networking (PAN), will fade from consumer electronics by 2012 and PCs by 2013. In-Stat believes that Wi-Fi will win out, with newer wireless solutions gradually phasing in, such as the 60 GHz SiBeam approach.
Most of the UWB startups, including all those devoted to video streaming over UWB, have folded or halted normal operations; just Alereon, Staccato, and Wisair remain. (Sigma Designs remains in businesses offers RF and coax UWB flavors for home networking, but isn't focused solely on UWB, nor did it develop a specific video streaming technology, although it works with Fujitsu on one approach.)
Stephen Wood, the long-time head of the now-dissolving WiMedia Alliance (a trade group devoted to UWB standards), spent some time convincing me in March (as I reported in this Ars Technica article) that UWB had a future because separate trade groups were still in interested in pursuing UWB as a fundamental part of their evolution.
Wood's multi-pronged argument is that the cost of UWB chips and integration is finally dropping to the widespread adoption point; the USB Implementors Forum is committed to UWB for its Certified Wireless USB flavor; and that only relatively recently were worldwide regulatory standards put in place that could spur the use of UWB on a truly worldwide basis.
Thus it seems to me that the real question about UWB is whether manufacturers who are members of the USB forum, a few of which already ship a limited set of UWB-enabled laptops, get gung-ho about the technology and start embedding it in large swaths of products when the price hits the critical $5 threshold.
For that to happen, printer and digital camera makers along with mobile handset developers would also need the religion. All the desktop and laptop PCs in the world could come with UWB "free" (the cost hidden in the overall price), but without peripherals it makes little sense.
With many entry-level printers and nearly all portable gadgets--smartphones or otherwise--having Wi-Fi built in, I have a hard time seeing where UWB gets a foothold. Further, with the coming wave of faster, battery-saving single-stream 802.11n devices hitting the market this year, and the Bluetooth SIG having released its 3.0 spec with an 802.11 data-transfer mode for large files, it's just hard to see where UWB can fit in.