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RFID Reader Vendors Rally Around Intel's New Chip

RFID reader companies Alien, CAEN, and ThingMagic made a point yesterday to announce their planned integration of Intel's new Gen2 reader chip into their reader products. That chip, the R1000, was itself announced yesterday by Intel, and is expected to herald the introduction of cheaper and smaller Gen2 RFID reader technology.
Mar 07, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

March 7, 2007—Three RFID reader companies made a point yesterday to announce their planned integration of Intel's new Gen2 reader chip into their reader products. That chip, the R1000, was itself announced yesterday by Intel, and is expected to herald the introduction of cheaper and smaller Gen2 RFID reader technology (see Intel Announces Gen2 RFID Reader Chip).

Silicon Valley-based Alien Technology, which provides inlays, services, and training in addition to readers, did not provide much detail in its announcement about a specific reader model, but it did suggest that the company will rely on the R1000 to penetrate new markets with new kinds of readers. "The Intel R1000 will enable the proliferation of RFID readers in a variety of form factors addressing a broad spectrum of new application segments. Alien plans to utilize this new highly integrated offering to accelerate the development of reader products for new segments," said Susan Pearson, Alien's VP of alliances. Such innovative reader development for previously untargeted applications is exactly what Intel's marketing director for RFID, Kerry Krause, told RFID Update he expected would be a key consequence of the R1000.

In its announcement, Italy's CAEN said that it had developed an entirely new reader module, the A528, to use the R1000. Designed to operate in both the US and Europe, the A528 can be integrated into all manner of devices, including RFID printers, label applicators, handhelds, or any other fixed or mobile device that might need integrated Gen2 tag reading and writing capabilities. CAEN has been working with Intel for over a year with access to pre-releases of the R1000. "The features of the Intel R1000 Transceiver will enable us to increase the performances of our compact modules," said CAEN RFID marketing director Giovanni Grieco, "thus providing a powerful and flexible OEM module for most embedded and mobile RFID applications."

Lastly, ThingMagic of Cambridge, Massachusetts, also announced a new reader module, the Mercury5e. It is half the thickness of its predecessor the Mercury4e, and it consumes less power. Vice president of marketing Kevin Ashton asserted, "Given its processing power, Mercury5e is the smallest, most accurate and cost effective embedded RFID reader module, due to the combination of our RFID expertise and the use of the Intel R1000 Transceiver chip." The module will see its public unveiling at RFID World at the end of this month.

These announcements collectively bode well for the significance of Intel's chip, as every new product based on the R1000 represents an implicit endorsement of the chip's capabilities. Given Krause's statement that no less than ten reader companies will introduce new R1000-based products in the second quarter, and that another ten have products in the works, expect RFID readers to be one of the most talked-about themes at the industry's two leading events that are just around the corner, RFID World later this month and RFID Journal LIVE! from April 30 to May 2.
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