Cable-Free Phone Tech Backed By Samsung Foxconn

Announcement about working on a new way for mobile phones to transfer large amounts of data without using wires or WiFi connections is expected to be made by a startup backed by Tony Fadell, one of the fathers of the Apple iPod.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd and others are also engaged in the project.

More than $100 million from Fadell and the venture arms of Samsung and Intel Corp, among others has bene raised by his Campbell, Calif.-based company called Keyssa, Chief Executive Eric Almgren said. Transfer of large files such as movies in just a few seconds is allowed by the company’s “kiss” technology when two computing devices are simply held near each other.

As devices like phones and laptops, which are growing ever-lighter and thinner, the goal is to remove the need for cumbersome and bulky cable connectors inside such devices. A wide range of services could eventually make use of the wireless data transfer technique if Keyssa is successful.

It had come up with a design that could be embedded in so-called two-in-one laptops which feature detachable touch-screens, Keyssa announced last October, together with Intel Corp.

Creating a design for mobile phones is the aim of the alliance with Samsung and Foxconn.

The management team at Keyssa had previously developed the technology behind the HDMI standard for video connections, noted Shankar Chandran, head of the venture arm at Samsung Electronics. Samsung hopes Keyssa’s technology might become similarly widespread.

“Standards tend to get ecosystems built around them in a fairly complicated way,” Chandran said in an interview. “What’s needed is a bunch of industry players across the value chain saying they’re going to build to that standard. And that’s really what we have.”

The Essential Phone, the device designed by Andy Rubin, the father of the Android mobile operating system is the one of the first places a wireless transfer feature could show up.

A launch date for its $699 phone later this week is being planned to announced by Essential, which has raised $330 million in venture capital. An investor in both Essential and Keyssa is Playground Global, the venture fund Rubin oversees.

While it is not clear where the technology has come from, Essential has said its phone will feature wireless data transfer. Including nearly 50 of which that have been issued in the United States, Keyssa says it has filed more than 250 patents around the technology.

In order to discuss licensing Keyssa’s proprietary technology, Keyssa met with Rubin and Essential executives several times, including at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2016, Almgren said. However, no agreement had been reached.

For its part, Essential said it “considered Keyssa as a component supplier for Essential Phone and chose to proceed with a different supplier that could meet our performance specifications for the product,” Essential said in a statement.

(Adapted from Reuters)


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