TransferJet wireless data gadgets coming next year

Sony-developed technology offers high-speed data transfer between gadgets

TransferJet, a data transfer technology that allows information to be exchanged between gadgets by simply bringing them close to each other, should begin appearing in products next year.

Both Sony and Toshiba are demonstrating the technology at this week's IFA electronics fair in Berlin and said products should be available in early 2010.

TransferJet works over a distance of a few centimeters and users will see speeds of up to 375Mbps.

It's designed for data exchange between a user's gadgets and uses radio spectrum around 4.5GHz, which is available for unlicensed applications in most countries, so worldwide use should be possible.

"The idea of TransferJet is not to compete with technologies like WiFi. It can be viewed as a connector replacement," said Chris Clifton, chief technology officer at Sony UK's Semiconductor and electronic solutions division.

"So instead of looking for the USB cable or the hassle of trying to connect from one device to another, just touch and go and transfer data in a few seconds."

The products will follow the completion of version 1.0 of the TransferJet standard, which is due next month, said Clifton.

Sony originally developed the technology but work was handed over to a consortium last year.

It counts 40 major consumer electronics companies among its members, including Samsung, Toshiba, Kodak, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sharp, Olympus, Pioneer and Sony Ericsson.

Details of the first products are not available but as many of the major digital still camera, video camera and cellular telephone companies are among the early supporters it's likely that it will appear in these products first.

At IFA Sony was demonstrating data transfer from a Walkman to a cell phone and from a cell phone to a digital picture frame, and also downloading of movies from a retail kiosk.

Toshiba was using TransferJet to send photos from a cell phone to a laptop computer.

TransferJet's short range brings several advantages, said Clifton.

It uses a low power to transmit data so doesn't have the same problems with interference that other wireless technologies can suffer, and has a lesser impact on battery life.

It also means that set-up can be made easier without all of the pairing and security in systems like Bluetooth.

Because it works over a few centimeters it typically would require a user to be in possession of the gadgets being used.

TransferJet was first unveiled by Sony at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2008. A prototype system transferred pictures from a digital camera to a television.

The technology was again demonstrated at this year's CES when Toshiba showed a prototype PDA with the technology.

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Martyn Williams

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