Hi all,

FYI.

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Jay

Broadcom Pitches Lingua Franca for PCs, TVs and Tablets
By ASHLEE VANCE, August 26, 2010, 4:36 pm


For years, computer, device and TV makers have promised us nothing short of communications bliss.

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Videos should fly off your laptop to your TV with wireless ease. People sitting in a coffee shop should toss their photos to each other with a mere flick of the finger. And, while such feats are possible with a bit of technical know-how, they remain more complex than they should be.

So Broadcom, which makes the chips inside computers and cellphones that make Wi-Fi possible, is taking another crack at solving the communications dysfunction through a software platform called InConcert Maestro.

How melodious.

The software basically allows people to create direct connections between devices via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth without having to worry about the usual configuration hassles like entering a pairing code to hook up two Bluetooth products. (The software, not the user, also decides whether Wi-Fi or Bluetooth makes more sense in a given scenario.)

Software makers can use Broadcom’s underlying technology to build peer-to-peer type links in their products and avoid learning about the intricacies of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protocols.

During a recent meeting in San Francisco, Broadcom executives demonstrated an instant messaging program that would let people in a coffee shop or remote office swap files without needing to figure out the log-on information for the local Wi-Fi network. They showed another demonstration of a Battleship-type game that worked off the same idea.

More impressively, Broadcom had the InConcert Maestro software running on a laptop and then linked that device to an iPad and a television. An app on the iPad turned the device into a type of remote control that let someone pick a movie from the laptop and send it to the TV. This would be bliss for the average user, since they don’t need to learn any configuration techniques.

This technology piggybacks on the DLNA, or Digital Living Network Alliance, that has tried to set standards for swapping data across devices, particularly TVs.

Plenty of DLNA-ready TVs are already out on the market, waiting to be tapped. Such TVs would automatically receive the signal sent by the laptop in the set-up from the example. Meanwhile, Broadcom will work to get adapters out on the market so that older TVs can grab streams as well.

Intel offers similar technology, although it requires a separate set-top-box-like appliance to help broker the connections. In addition, Windows 7 has the ability to create a so-called “soft access point” built-in, although it takes about seven steps to set it up and hardly anyone knows that such a tool exists.

Longer term, Broadcom hopes that computer and device makers will adopt its software and make the development of this type of sharing easier.

It’s looking for the technology to make its way into new settings like hospitals where a doctor’s tablet could pick up information from various sensors and receive X-ray images and the like with no muss or fuss.