What do you do with a product when it has a nearly countless user base? Add new features, of course! That’s exactly what the Wi-Fi Alliance is doing with its Wi-Fi Direct initiative. Wi-Fi Direct, expected around the second half of 2010, leverages the Wi-Fi enabled devices you have and lets them connect directly to each other. In essence, each supported wireless device becomes a mini access point. That should make sharing wireless data between devices even easier, not to mention sharing Internet access. Today you can do just that with the Bluetooth PAN profile, but next year, you’ll have another option. And that option should offer a greater range.
Many devices will be software upgradable to take advantage of Wi-Fi direct — one of the obvious benefits of a standard. That’s great news because the last thing people want to do is to buy a whole new devices to gain marginal utility. It’s interesting to me that some hardware makers tried to go this route on their own. Intel’s My Wi-Fi product comes to mind, but I really haven’t heard of anyone using it on a regular basis. I hope smartphone makers and mobile handset carriers are paying attention to this news: it’s yet another reason to build Wi-Fi into every smartphone.