The wireless human interface device (HID) market, which includes wireless mice, keyboards and remote controls, has historically been dominated by products operating in the 27 MHz band. But 2008 looks set to be a crossover year in which shipments of 2.4 GHz-based products outstrip those running at 27 MHz, thanks to wholesale product changes by major OEMs.

ABI Research expects that by 2011, 2.4 GHz products will account for triple the number of 27 MHz products shipped. Some wireless HID products may employ other communication methods such as Bluetooth, but according to research director Stuart Carlaw, “Bluetooth still does not have price points low enough to allow it to penetrate much outside of its present territory: products aimed at smartphones and mice for use with Bluetooth-enabled laptops.

The narrowing cost differential between 2.4 GHz and 27 MHz ICs and the improved range of 2.4 GHz mean that 2.4 GHz products are well positioned to take advantage of the growing need to support media center PCs with rich navigational solutions such as Vista’s Side Show.”

A new ABI Research Brief, “Wireless PAN Technologies in PC and Mobile HID,” forecasts the total market for wireless HID to grow from just over 100 million units in 2005 to over 168 million units in 2012, at a CAGR of 8 percent.,

A respectable share of that growth may be claimed by companies such as Nordic Semiconductor and TI, which stand to profit from the shift to 2.4 GHz products. According to Carlaw, a wild card in the development and growth in this market is Wibree, the new low power wireless local area network technology.

“While Wibree is interesting and may have significant potential,” he says, “it is still very new and the jury remains out on the question of whether it can make significant inroads in the wireless HID market.” “Wireless PAN Technologies in PC and Mobile HID” profiles market trends affecting the uptake of wireless HID in both mobile and computing environments.

It addresses issues including the market mix of 27 MHz and 2.4 GHz products, the impact of standardized products such as Bluetooth and Wibree, and rich navigation scenarios stemming from Media Center and Vista uptakes. It forms part of two ABI Research Services: Short Range Wireless and Home Networking.