Sunday, December 17, 2006

Agere Debuts New Product Category -- BluOnyx Mobile Content Server

Agere Systems unveiled its BluOnyx Mobile Content Server, a new consumer product category designed to un-tether users from the PC and stationary storage devices by giving them access to content and applications in a portable device.

The BluOnyx server, which will be shown at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in January, enables mobile users to share and stream music, video and business files to or from electronic devices ranging from cell phones, PCs, digital cameras, game machines, DSL routers, etc. The credit card size device does not come with its own screen but is controlled by mobile phone, PC or other video device using a Bluetooth connection. Agere will be offering a turn-key solution for other consumer product brands.

The credit-card sized unit combines either Flash-based storage or a mini-HDD with an application processor, middleware and wireless connectivity. The amount of storage on the BluOnyx server will range from 1 GB to 40 GB. Devices can connect to the BluOnyx server wirelessly through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections or using USB cables or SD cards. The BluOnyx server can be accessed directly or through a home or corporate network where it is seen as a drive letter.

Agere said one of the possible uses for the BluOnyx server could a "Digital Campfire", where friends gathered around a table share media content via their mobile phones. The BluOnyx server is capable of streaming videos to one or more cell phones. Agere is working to support various DRM implementations. The device could also be used to back up pictures, music, video, emails, personal and business documents
and images from cell phones, cameras and PCs. It might also be used to share Internet access for cell phones and PDAs that are not broadband enabled and cannot access the Internet on their own.

The BluOnyx solution combines several of Agere's subsystems, including its storage silicon and a new processor. Details on the processor have not yet been announced. The Bluetooth, and later Wi-Fi capabilities, use commercially-available radios from multiple providers.

Key stats:

  • Dimensions of 90 mm long by 60 mm wide and between 6 mm and 15 mm thick (depending on memory capacity)

  • Battery life: up to 12 hours

  • Weight: about 140 grams with 40 GB HDD

The retail price of the BluOnyx server is expected to range from $99 to $250 depending on memory capacity. Agere said it is currently in discussions with consumer electronic device makers and cell phone service providers.