Samsung Has First Wi-Fi Direct Smartphone

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Samsung’s Galaxy S is the first smartphone certified to use Wi-Fi Direct, a new standard that supports peer-to-peer wireless transfers without an access point or hotspot. Zatz Not Funny noticed the Wi-Fi Alliance certification today for the GT-I9000, which is the generic version of the Galaxy S, an Android handset available in many countries worldwide and also on all four major carriers in the U.S. (Related: our review of AT&T’s version, the Captivate) Samsung has sold over 5 million Galaxy S smartphones since introducing it this summer.

Wi-Fi Direct uses a device-to-device approach, is secured by WPA2 security and should make it easier for consumers to transfer data between objects that contain a supported Wi-Fi radio. With a Samsung Galaxy S, for example, a user could wirelessly transfer photos from the handset to a computer, even if there isn’t a wireless network to connect the two. Or the same photos could easily be beamed to a wireless picture frame that supports the Wi-Fi Direct standard. Users could theoretically print those images by shooting them from the Galaxy S to a wireless printer as well.

If Wi-Fi Direct sounds like Bluetooth, it certainly is similar. But the range for Bluetooth use on the Samsung Galaxy S handset tops out around 30 feet. The smartphone’s Wi-Fi radio, however, uses the 802.11n standard, which should allow for several orders of magnitude more range than Bluetooth, for example. The more smartphones that gain Wi-Fi Direct certification through native support or firmware upgrades, the less consumers will need a Wi-Fi hotspot or a USB cable to transfer or backup data and media between devices. I expect we’ll see apps and games that take advantage of direct wireless connections (with no network required) as the technology gains adoption.

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