USB On-The-Go

While some cell phones and PDAs are equipped for wireless via IR or other means, it doesn't help you much if your computer doesn't have the capability to receive the info that you beam over to it. Snapping in a cable to move data between your portable device and your trusty desktop computer is the easy answer, but a USB port is just too big and clunky for most wireless devices (there's certainly no room for one on the little cell phone I keep losing). The solution? Make the connector smaller. The Universal Serial Bus (USB) Implementers Forum just announced the release for public comment of the proposed On-The-Go Supplement to the USB 2.0 Specification. This supplement defines a method for portable devices to expand upon their basic personal computer (PC) connectivity by communicating directly with certain peripherals. The On-The-Go Supplement to the USB 2.0 spec adds enhancements to USB peripherals that include a small USB connector to fit the mobile form factor and low power features to preserve battery life. According to the specification, devices that can take on the role of either host or peripheral when connected to other USB devices are not required to support all possible types of USB peripherals but do need to operate as a peripheral with existing PCs in accordance with the USB specification. The Forum says that the On-The-Go Supplement will allow manufacturers to develop devices with like MP3 players that can be connected to each other to transfer music files, cameras that can be connected directly to a printer, and PDAs that can be connected to cell phones to enable mobile Internet access. Publication of the 0.9 revision of the supplement is available on the USB Implementers Forum website . The first product shipments based on the specification are anticipated in 2002. Companies contributing to the development of the supplement include ACON, Cypress, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard, InSilicon, Intel, MCCI, Microsoft, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Onspec, OPTi, Palm, Philips, SoftConnex, Texas Instruments and TransDimension.

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