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Philips Ships GEN 2 Chips

Dutch semiconductor giant Philips announced on Friday that it had begun shipping a trial version of its GEN 2 RFID chip.
Apr 04, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

April 4, 2005—An important first step in the introduction of GEN 2-compliant RFID products was taken last week by Dutch semiconductor giant Philips, who announced on Friday that it had begun shipping a trial version of its GEN 2 RFID chip. The chip, dubbed U-Code EPC G2, will undergo laboratory evaluations by a handful of Philips partner companies. As the technology is only in its early stages, the idea is not to test it for real-world usability. Rather, Philips aims to ensure that the basics work as prescribed in the GEN 2 specification.

The partner companies, referred to collectively as the EPC G2 task force, are RFID tag and reader manufacturers and system integrators: ASK, Checkpoint, Deister Electronic, Feig, Intermec, Omron, SAMSys, Thingmagic, UPM Rafsec, and X-Ident. Philips hopes to have the chips ready for mass production sometime in Q3, and it expects to sell them at $0.09 per chip in quantities of 10,000.

Already some retailers are interested in getting their hands on the GEN 2 chips. Germany’s METRO Group, widely considered the European leader of RFID supply chain adoption, will begin their own testing in late Q2. And Wal-Mart itself is expected to begin evaluating GEN 2 technology in the weeks ahead.

The race to ship GEN 2 product is heating up, and it will only accelerate as 2005 progresses. Since GEN 2's ratification last December, the RFID tag and chip manufacturers have been hurriedly ramping up to begin production. Given that many would-be customers will not purchase RFID hardware, knowing that whatever they might buy now will be made obsolete by GEN 2 releases later this year, the industry is stalled in an awkward paradox of pent-up demand and decreased spending. When GEN 2 product hits the market in Q3 (or possibly sooner), expect a frenzy of activity.

See InformationWeek for more
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