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Jury May Be Out For Some Time On Sony SmartTags

If one were to visit the Sony booth at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, one would come away with the idea smartphones are just going to keep getting smarter and smarter but that really may not be the case.

Using the relative absence of major competitors at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony has had the announcement floor to itself as it has introduced Xperia Smartphones, Android-based apps and a new SmartTag technology with which one can actually set up Web-capable devices to make coffee in the morning or start the car at a certain time.

Sony's SmartTag system relies on a dual set of radio transceivers to handle all the functionality that was shown at CES. One set of transceivers works with a "SmartTag" Android-based app that enables the phone to "talk" with the SmartTag device. The second set of transceivers is built into the SmartTag system itself. It is the part of the system that tells your Web-enabled coffee pot (there are some on the market and more are coming) to start brewing fresh cup of coffee at just the right time. Similarly the SmartTag, if your car's self-starting system is set up to work with it, can send the start command so that when you head out to your car it's nice and toasty, no matter what the temperature outside.

SmartTag technology relies on a feature that has been long known in the radio world. No matter how you shield your radio transceiver system, there is always some leakage. Today's radio systems are known as superheterodyne in that they grab a frequency, say 70 MHz, and after using huge amounts of bandpass, low and high-pass filtering, as well as filter-shaping, they come up with a signal that is then down converted to somewhere in the 30 to 40 MHz range. Again, you do not know this is happening, but after cleaning up the signal with many stages of filtering, there is usually one more stepdown that occurs, to the frequency where your SmartTag will work. This type of system can work in an upward manner, if for instance you are aiming for one of the "transient" business frequencies around 150 MHz to enable the SmartTag technology.

The reason these are mentioned is that whichever path Sony takes with its SmartTags, it is likely to be the forerunner of many other "Smart" devices. Already, there are RFID (Radio Frequency ID) systems in place that watch a store's stock to make sure it doesn't leave in someone's pocket, while also tracking large shipments of goods to make sure they arrive on time.

With the SmartTag System, Sony has invented four transceivers that operate with what is known as Near-Field Communications technology. In other words, using a maximum power of about 600 milliwatts, they take advantage of an Android-based app for the Xperia phone that turns on the Smart Tag technology. Once they have synced up, it's a simple matter to tell your Web-based printer to turn on and print out a bunch of photos that you have uploaded from your camera. At the same time, the SmartTag will also turn on the microwave, if you tell it to, so that you can make popcorn to munch while you go through the hardcopy video images that you have just created to find just the right ones to send off to friends.

Available in sets of four, SmartTags can have many uses. For example, not only can they be programmed to start your coffee up in the morning, if your coffee-maker is Web enabled, but they can set to make your day a lot less repetitive. For instance, let's say you want to start your car up while, at the same time, enabling the car's Bluetooth system, allowing it to sync up any Bluetooth devices, while, at the same time loading your favorite playlist on your car's smart radio or iPadFree Web Content, if the radio control head is one which can control your iPod.

Article Tags: Smarttag System, Same Time

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Source: Sony-SmartTags

Roberto Sedycias works as an IT consultant for

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