Ultra-wideband Players Get $20M to Merge

Staccato CommunicationsToday, Ultra-wideband chip makers Artimi and Staccato Communications announced $20 million in funding and a merger agreement, which seems like tying two leaky boats together, giving them some more gas and hoping they make it to shore. The combination of Artimi and Staccato brings together the two UWB companies that were rumored to be running out of cash (as most of the other players had received cash earlier this year).

I have my doubts about the future of UWB, the high-speed personal area networking technology, after the closure of UWB chipmaker WiQuest, the bankruptcy of UWB chip firm Focus Enhancements and the halt of Intel’s (s INTC) UWB research program, but belief in UWB apparently remains high. Alereon CEO Eric Broockman, earlier this month, told me he believed that cell phones might be the eventual killer application for UWB, as people could use it for high-speed data transfers without sucking up a lot of power. He pointed out that SK Telecom (s SKM), which had invested in Alereon this year showed a prototype handset with UWB chips inside. Maybe there is hope, but I’m not betting on those boats reaching the shore.