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January 12, 2010

Increased Uptake for Wi-Fi In Consumer Electronics

A new consumer poll, initiated by the Wi-Fi Alliance (News - Alert) on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show, illustrates that Wi-Fi has become a highly valued functionality in consumer electronics.

More than 1,000 nationally representative American adults were interviewed online in a survey performed by Wakefield Research. The poll results indicate a strong predisposition towards a multitude of Wi-Fi-enabled entertainment applications, as well as a need for an easy method to accomplish those connections.

With Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct technology being introduced into the market later this year, Wi-Fi is set to grow in relevance for consumer electronics devices in 2010.

Seventy-four percent of poll respondents indicated interest in Wi-Fi-enabled speakers to play music everywhere in the home, and 74 percent also asserted they would prefer to use the technology to watch movies or television on any screen throughout the house.  Seventy-one percent of respondents showed an interest in wirelessly access the internet quickly and directly to a printer without having to log on to a network. 54 percent asked for the capability to use Wi-Fi to synch a portable audio player to a music library without using cables or a docking station.

Consumers were also asked about the upcoming Wi-Fi Direct technology, which will help electronics, handsets and notebooks to access each other directly without using an access point or requiring an internet connection. The Wi-Fi Direct will most probably release around mid-2010 and will be suited for a broad array of entertainment devices. This will include simple Wi-Fi Protected Setup techniques to connect devices and provide security safeguards.

Seventy percent of respondents asserted that they were interested in experiencing Wi-Fi Direct technology and incorporating it into new devices when briefed of Wi-Fi Direct.  Sixty percent also believed that Wi-Fi Direct stood for a 'more amazing invention than digital television that delivers hundreds of channels to your home.'

Although poll respondents indicated a strong interest in connecting entertainment devices without wires, they also preferred that the wireless connection should be easy to set up. For example, although about half of the respondents (44 percent) estimated it would take them more than 30 minutes to display digital photos on a television screen currently, 68 percent wanted to complete the same task 'with little more than the push of a button.'

According to recent shipment data made available by In-Stat (News - Alert), more than 475 million Wi-Fi chipsets were shipped in 2009. In-Stat projects that shipments of Wi-Fi chipsets for consumer electronics devices will grow at the rate of 25 percent every year for the next four years.  Wi-Fi Alliance certification information also shows a rising trend for incorporation of Wi-Fi in consumer electronics: the number of consumer electronics devices to become Wi-Fi CERTIFIED in 2009 went up by 128 percent when compared to 2008, with the biggest growth being reported in televisions and digital video recorder/player devices.

Carolyn John is a Contributor to TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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