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Alliance develops Web-free Wi-Fi link

DEVICE-TO-DEVICE Wi-Fi technology that allows users to connect devices wirelessly without an Internet connection has been developed by an alliance of companies including Apple and Sony. Products with Internet-free Wi-Fi capacity are expected to debut in 2010, an industry organization said yesterday in Shanghai.

Based on the new wireless technology, people can play video games with friends on different devices, share music instantly and display pictures stored in cell phones on a television, all without an Internet connection, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance whose members include Nokia, Sony, Intel, Apple and Cisco.

Some of the members, including Sony and Apple, are developing the new Wi-Fi solution, said Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Bluetooth also provides device-to-device wireless connection but Wi-Fi enjoys a wider range and higher speeds - 10 times faster than Bluetooth.

"It's a more useful technology and it will improve the penetration rate of Wi-Fi," said Davis-Felner.

At present, portable music players, smart phones, portable games players and most laptops support Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi chip sales will reach between 650 million and 1 billion units worldwide in 2011 compared with 387 million to 450 million units in 2008, according to the United States-based research firm In-Stat.

The sales of Wi-Fi-enabled consumer electronics will reach more than 900 million units by 2012, double 2008's figure, according to In-Stat.

China Telecom and China Unicom have made Wi-Fi a strategic priority in more than 30 cities. The relaxation of restrictions on Wi-Fi functions in phones will also fuel the development of the technology in the world's biggest mobile phone market, said the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The non-profit alliance has more than 300 company members worldwide.



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