Qualcomm at IFA 2013: Low-power Wi-Fi module and Alljoyn demonstration

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The company didn’t have a presence at IFA because it coincided with its own developer conference, Uplinq2013, which was coincided with IFA’s press days. The company is betting big on IoE or “Internet of Everything” and added a new member to its Atheros family, the QCA4002/4004.

We met with Jason Zheng, Senior VP, Emerging Businesses for Qualcomm Atheros who explained that this new component is essentially a self-contained computer unit (complete with system memory and an onboard SoC) with 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, a very low power consumption, support for IPv6 and a new feature called Green TX that cuts the transmission power by half when near to another device or access point.

Zheng also claims that the unit can wake up from suspend mode way faster than previous generations but more prosaically, it will be the cost of production of the unit and its support for Alljoyn, an open source ecosystem that we liken to Google’s Android.

Set up by Qualcomm, it aims at doing for the Internet of Everything what Android did for the mobile market. Grow the market faster by removing barriers of entry, reduce fragmentation and allowing businesses to develop products and services more easily.

When asked whether this chip would be a good match for an energy harvester solution, Zheng said that it will probably be at least a couple of generations before it happens as engineers fine tune and tweak the platform to sip even less power.

We were then convened to a short demonstration that merely scratches the surface when it comes to what the Alljoyn and a low-power Wi-Fi can do together.

From door that unlock automatically when you approach them, a Sonos-like wireless audio solution, an airconditioning unit and a coffee maker that can be remotely programmed, it seems that the applications are limited only by the imagination of engineers.