Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, have quickly become the media player of choice among consumers for a variety of reasons: small form factor, long battery life, high-resolution mobile displays, etc. But arguably the most significant contributor to their popularity is connectivity.

Whether via 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, near-field communications (NFC), or even an FM radio connection, mobile devices allow consumers to work or be entertained almost anywhere. With today’s mobile devices supporting so many different wireless standards, it would appear that there is an appropriate wireless technology available for any possible need. Or is there?

Drawbacks To Current Standards

High-resolution digital cameras are becoming ubiquitous in smart phones and tablets, and many consumers are using these devices as a primary camera. But moving high-resolution pictures between devices (e.g., camera to laptop) can be troublesome.

Cables and flash drives are commonly used, but they’re easily lost or forgotten. A 3G or 4G connection is only effective in an outdoor urban environment where a strong connection is available, and moving large image files can be very expensive with a pay-as-you-go data plan. Configuration issues can affect options such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and even the highest Bluetooth data rates (24 Mbits/s) aren’t fast enough to move large files. NFC is intended for use in wireless point-of-sale and inventory tracking applications, not to move large media files.

Furthermore, raw data rates quoted by many wireless technologies are based on ideal conditions. The effective data rates can be significantly lower in challenging usage environments. While many different wireless technologies are available on mobile devices, there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all technology for every possible use.

In fact, effective and efficient wireless file transfer is one of the last hurdles to universality for smart phones and tablets. Fortunately, a new wireless alternative provides a simple way to transfer large data files between devices: TransferJet technology.

The TransferJet Advantage

TransferJet is a close-proximity wireless data transfer technology with a very high effective data rate (up to 375 Mbits/s) and short range (just a few centimeters). This allows mobile users to swap files between devices by merely “touching” them together. TransferJet technology can move a 10-Mpixel photo between devices in less than a second and a 100-Mbyte video file in as little as two seconds. The short range used by TransferJet technology also addresses some common concerns about mobile wireless connectivity.

The ubiquity of Wi-Fi networks has become a security issue for many users. In an effort to stay connected, many mobile users set their devices to connect to any available Wi-Fi network. When connected to a public network, a consumer’s mobile device is exposed to other users.

While Wi-Fi does have a variety of security measures, they can make connecting to networks cumbersome. And, as any security expert will tell you, no security standard is foolproof. Alternatively, the requirement that a device be just a few centimeters away from another to make a connection with TransferJet technology greatly reduces exposure to an unwanted connection.

Furthermore, TransferJet technology operates on an unlicensed frequency band (4.48 GHz) that is not commonly used. Wi-Fi uses the popular 2.4- and 5.0-GHz bands and is often subject to interference from other devices such as cordless phones and microwaves.

Power consumption is another important issue for mobile devices, which are designed to provide an always on, always connected experience to consumers. Technologies like Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G can be significant drains on battery power, particularly under heavy use. Again, the short range of TransferJet technology addresses this. By requiring a range of only a few centimeters, the Rx/Tx power requirements of TransferJet technology are comparable to Bluetooth.

Finally, TransferJet technology is implemented in an optimized RF and mixed-signal process, which some vendors have used to make ICs as small as 4 by 4 mm. It can easily be incorporated into the small form factors used by most mass-market mobile devices.

Expanding Applications

TransferJet technology has potential for applications beyond sharing files between mobile devices. A TransferJet-enabled laptop or PC could easily sync data with a smart phone or tablet placed next to it. Or perhaps an HD video shot on smart phone or digital camera with TransferJet could be displayed on an HDTV. Digital signage using TransferJet technology could let consumers download paid music, e-books, or other information simply by having them hold their smart phone up to a display or kiosk.

Like any new wireless standard, TransferJet technology will only be successful if it receives widespread adoption in the industry. Fortunately, a consortium of over 45 companies that includes many of the biggest names in consumer electronics—Canon, Hitachi, Pioneer, Sony, and Toshiba to name a few—is promoting the standard. Toshiba currently offers a TransferJet LSI, Sony markets many TransferJet-enabled cameras, and several other companies have released TransferJet devices in applications beyond cameras. For more information, visit the TransferJet Consortium Web site at www.transferjet.org.