NEC president: We must end cable clutter

Wireless USB (Universal Serial Bus) is one answer to the problem of how to connect the increasing number of networked home applicances Japanese electronics companies are developing, according to NEC Electronics president Kaoru Tosaka.

Those networked devices all seem to require cables to connect to each other, whether they be the DVD players that allow playback and recording in different rooms, home PCs and their photo printers, hard-disc drive MP3 players, portable DVD players, or digital still and video cameras. And the cables are becoming a headache rather than a help, he suggested.

"As we talk of creating a ubiquitous networked society, in the home, cables are scattered all over the place. We have to think how to bundle all the cables together," he said in a keynote speech at Ceatec Japan 2004 this week.

For Sony president Kunitake Ando [cq], one solution is to develop an all-in-one remote control that talks to everything, from the rice cooker to the home server, he said at a keynote address earlier in the week.

For NEC Electronics, USB is the way to go.

"Wireless USB is the key to the future, as far as we are concerned," Tosaka said.

NEC Electronics is strongly backing wireless USB as a straightforward solution to getting rid of cables, and Tosaka said he believes it will become as widespread and popular as USB.

In February this year, NEC Electronics, Agere Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Philips Semiconductors, which is part of Koninklijke Philips Electronics, and Samsung Electronics formed the Wireless USB Promoter Group to work on the system's specification.

"There was a demonstration at the Intel Developers' Forum, and we saw the power of wireless USB," Tosaka said.

The specification is to be based on a 480M bps (bits per second) transfer speed, which is comparable to the current wired USB 2.0 standard, and will feature wireless high data throughput with low power consumption for distances under 10 meters, according to Intel.

The group is now near to defining version 1.0 of the wireless USB standard, he said.

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