UWB Debate Goes Nowhere
It looks like the UWB standards battle isn’t going to get anywhere close to being resolved any time soon. While it’s been nearly a year since the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement and decided to simply fight it out in the marketplace, many still assumed that by the end of 2004, either the de facto standard would emerge or one side would be forced to cave. Not so. The latest proposal from Motorola is that both sides basically stop trying to come to an agreement that will never be reached and simply agree to both be UWB. They try to compare this situation to WiFi, which had the somewhat similar 802.11a and 802.11g versions come out at about the same time. Of course, all this really does is get everyone to stop thinking about the next meeting where both sides will (once again) angrily refuse to agree with each other on absolutely everything. From the consumer side, this is bad news. Two competing standards means that vendors will need to make choices on which ones to support, leading to a fragmented market where not all UWB products work together — leading to some confusion, even if the offerings are branded differently, as they will be. Most vendors won’t want to support both versions of UWB, and so many of the network effects of having everyone on a single standard will be drastically cut. This is a move that’s showing the greed of the companies involved that all want “their piece.” The end result is that they’ll all get their own piece of a much smaller market than if they had come to an agreement on a single, accepted standard.