Industry Heavyweights Line-up Behind Sony's TransferJet

The possibility of a gadget world without wires took a big step forward Thursday when 14 of the biggest names in consumer electronics said they would work with Sony on its short-range, high-speed "TransferJet" wireless data system.

Sony and companies, which include Samsung, Panasonic, Toshiba, Kodak and Canon, formed the TransferJet Consortium. The group is dedicated to hammering out the technical specifications required before products featuring the technology can be brought to market.

TransferJet is a Sony-developed wireless system that can send data at speeds of up to 375M bps (bits per second) over distances of around 3 centimeters. It's designed to replace the cables that are typically needed to connect gadgets and its speed rivals that of USB2.0 and Firewire, the two dominant cable-based systems in use today.

Sony first demonstrated the system at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A digital camera equipped with Transfer Jet was placed onto a modified version of Sony's photo reader box that also packed the technology. Once the photo reader detected the camera it automatically transferred the 45 images in the camera memory in a few seconds. The images were relatively small VGA resolution -- higher quality pictures will take slightly longer to transfer.

Another demonstration involved streaming video from a digital video camera to a reader that was hooked-up to a television.

Sony hopes to put products incorporating TransferJet on sale sometime in 2009, said Junko Sato, a spokeswoman for Sony in Tokyo.

Technically, the system works in the 4.5GHz frequency range and is similar to but different from ultra wideband systems. It operates at a low power so shouldn't interfere with other systems and in many countries won't require complex licensing. The risk of data theft is said to be low because of the short range but it's possible to restrict the devices that can make TransferJet connections.

In addition to Sony the other consortium members are: Canon, Eastman Kodak, Hitachi, JVC, Japanese telecom carrier KDDI, Kenwood, Panasonic, Nikon, Olympus, Pioneer, Samsung, Seiko Epson, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba. In addition to working on the technical specifications the consortium will also ensure interoperability between gadgets using the technology and promote it.

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