After a long wait, the first stage of what will become the “wireless home office” is arriving. Some home office ultra-wideband (UWB) products are now hitting retailers’ shelves and more are expected by the end of the year. These are mainly in the wireless USB category, the first major market application for UWB, utilizing wireless USB embedded in devices such as laptop computers, wireless docking stations for those computers and wireless external hard drives.

“The wireless USB docking station seems to be hitting a sweet spot,” says ABI Research senior analyst Douglas McEuen. “A number of the more capable laptop models now include native wireless USB. This represents an important step towards creation of the true wireless home office.”

Dell and Lenovo are leaders in UWB-enabled laptops; wireless USB stations are available from Kensington and Toshiba, and Imation is expected to release a wireless USB external hard disk drive range by year’s end. Wireless USB products will be more expensive than their wired predecessors, but McEuen feels that as production efficiencies evolve, the differential will soon shrink to the point that wireless solutions are competitive on both price and capabilities.

“This generation of products comes closer to achieving the data rates that UWB was hyped as offering,” notes McEuen, “and this is the first true opportunity for consumers to get their hands on UWB products and see them in action.”

The ABI Research study “Ultra-wideband Connectivity” analyzes critical UWB market conditions, from market drivers and obstacles to global regulations and standards. Key market semiconductor vendors are profiled and the study concludes with an in-depth market forecast that tracks both positive and negative forces numerically. It forms part of two ABI Research Services: Home Networking and Short-Range Wireless, which also include other Research Reports, Research Briefs, Market Data, an Online Database, ABI Insights, ABI Vendor Matrices and analyst inquiry support.