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RFID News Roundup

Motorola unveils new small, light RFID-enabled handheld; Austriamicrosystems' UHF RFID reader IC featured in Nordic ID's Morphic handheld; MTI and partners unveil RFID kit for small office/home office market; Xerafy, KeyTone launch RFID-based managed inventory-auditing service; TagMaster North America intros ACTS application software; Savi challenges developers to build innovative RFID solutions.
Nov 04, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Motorola Unveils New Small, Light RFID-enabled Handheld
Motorola's Motorola Solutions business group has announced a new small, light RFID-enabled handheld device, the MC3190-Z, which the vendor says combines exceptional read performance with simple usability in an ergonomic package appropriate for retail and carpeted-space environments. The handheld features two data-capture technologies—an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader compliant with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards, and a bar-code scanner—into a single package, and is equipped with WLAN and Bluetooth capability. The unit weighs 1.4 pounds (650 grams), the company reports, compared with typical industry-standard RFID handheld terminals, which weigh 2.5 to 3.5 pounds (1,200 to 1,500 grams). It also features a Motorola RFID locating engine designed to guide an associate to a specific item's location (for example, a size 9, red, medium pair of shoes located somewhere in a store's back room) by means of audible and visual cues, and features a unique orientation-insensitive antenna that reduces the number of manual sweeps and usage complexity associated with typical RFID handhelds. The MC3190-Z earned top marks in a benchmark study conducted during summer 2010 by ODIN's scientific research division, ODIN Labs (see ODIN Benchmark Study Identifies Top Handheld Performers). The device was one of the top performers among eight handheld readers for distance reading. The MC3190-Z will be available to European customers in the first quarter of 2011, with availability expanding to other regions across the globe beginning in the second quarter. Motorola announced the new interrogator during RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2010, held this week in Darmstadt, Germany.

Austriamicrosystems' UHF RFID Reader IC Featured in Nordic ID's Morphic Handheld
Austriamicrosystems, a designer and manufacturer of analog ICs, has announced that Nordic ID's multifunctional handheld computer, the Nordic ID Morphic, is utilizing Austriamicrosystems' AS3991 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID chip, which is compliant with the ISO 18000 6a, 6b and 6c and EPC Gen 2 standards. First announced in February of this year, and available now, the Nordic ID Morphic is a small, multifunctional handheld mobile computer that also features WLAN, GPRS, Bluetooth communications, telephone functionality, and a 1-D and 2-D bar-code scanner. According to the company, the unit is the size of a smart phone, weighs 6.4 ounces and includes built-in programming options, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. Austriamicrosystems' AS3991 UHF RFID chip requires only a standard 8-bit microcontroller, with minimal other components, and is available now in a QFN64 package measuring 9 millimeters by 9 millimeters (0.4 inch by 0.4 inch). More detailed information on the firm's line of UHF RFID reader ICs can be found at www.austriamicrosystems.com/AS3991/UHF-Reader.

MTI and Partners Unveil RFID Kit for Small Office/Home Office Market
RFID companies MTI, RF-iT Solutions, NXP Semiconductors, Austriamicrosystems and Avery Dennison have teamed up to promote RFID ME Gen2 Internet technology, initially designed largely for retailers. In April 2010, MTI introduced an RFID interrogator in the form of a USB dongle (see MTI Creates EPC Gen 2 USB Reader for Retailer Applications) that featured the technology (partners RF-iT Solutions, NXP and Austriamicrosystems all had products leveraged in the dongle). Now, the technology is aimed at the small- and home-office and consumer markets, and at furthering the advance of the Internet of Things (the networked interconnection of everyday objects). RFID ME is now available as a complete kit that includes EPC Gen 2 reader hardware, as well as software and sample tags. In addition, Avery Dennison has joined the partnership. The software has been updated to include several new features, such as WebSearch, enabling a user to perform a Google search against an EPC tag read by the RFID ME interrogator, in order to find the most relevant information available on the Internet for the EPC-tagged object; WebKey, allowing an individual to define any Google keyword and easily associate it with an object fitted with an EPC RFID tag; WebLink, making it possible to automatically link a tagged object to any user-defined Web site, such as the GTIN Company Prefix Name Web site (with this feature, users can customize which Web sites they want to link to when the RFID ME hardware reads the associated EPC tagged object—once that object is read, the desired Web site is displayed); and WebDirect, which enables a company to perform direct routing of EPC-tagged objects to any specific Web page tailored to the tagged object (for example, WebDirect allows brand owners the ability to provide information, focused advertising and promotions regarding their specific products directly to a Web page customized for each product type). The RFID ME Kit contents include a CD-ROM with RF-iT Solutions software and documentation, along with a free 30-day trial license; MTI's USB Reader Dongle hardware device, incorporating Austriamicrosystems' AS3992 RFID chip; and sample quantities of Avery Dennison's EPC Gen 2 pressure-sensitive opaque inlays. According to the companies, MTI's USB Reader GUI supports NXP's G2iL+ Ucode unique features essential for developing and deploying applications, and provides an easy method for home users to read and write their own RFID tags. Initial Kits will come with six AD-824 inlays and six AD-224 inlays. In the future, the kits will include inlays using NXP's G2iL+ chips. Orders are now being taken for the kits with deliveries expected to begin in December. Pricing is $199 apiece for small quantities, and $169 each for orders of 100 or more.

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