x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Breaking down the walls of industry

Analysis Bridging the divide between our growing universe of gadgets will be big business in coming years, and Infinitec is set to jump into the middle of it.

ABU DHABI // Bridging the divide between our growing universe of gadgets will be big business in coming years, and Infinitec is set to jump into the middle of it. Devices keep getting smarter, from television sets that want to be more like computers, to laptops acting like phones. But the goodness within each gadget is held apart by an electronics industry that sees its customers as serfs to be contained within digital walls, locked into their own corporate ecosystem.

Want to wirelessly hook up your Apple iPhone to an LG TV? Good luck. Plan on beaming a picture from your Sony camera to a Microsoft Xbox? Not a chance. One thing that has been accepted as a standard across the digital world is the USB port, which can be found in every computer and a growing number of television sets, game consoles and entertainment systems. You'll find one in a new car stereo, on a digital projector and alongside the plugs on a decent home audio system. Its smaller cousin, the micro-USB port, is the industry standard connector and charger for mobile phones.

Infinitec is doing something rarely thought of in the electronics industry - considering the needs of its customers ahead of the possibility of creating a new, captive market. However, a good idea and fine intentions alone do not guarantee success. In the short term, Infinitec is entering the cut-throat, ultra-competitive consumer electronics market, and will have to fight to get its product onto the hotly contested shelves of retailers, especially in the American market, to which it has chosen to give priority.

In the long run, the greatest threat will come from the new wireless USB standard, a system that allows two devices to communicate over the air as if connected via cable. This system will use a universal standard for wireless transfer, while Infinitec uses its own proprietary version. It will be years before wireless USB becomes nearly as widespread as its wired cousin is today, but when it happens, the need for solutions such as Infinitec's will recede, to the relief of technology users the world over.

tgara@thenational.ae

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