Intel launches RFID reader chip

Although RFID has enjoyed a great deal of fanfare and publicity, from a technology market perspective RFID production has represented just a tiny sliver of industrial IT design and spend. Many of the components found in RFID devices have been niche products, owing to the specialty nature of early adopters. Recently Intel took a significant step in forecasting that RFID is here to stay and poised to become a pervasive technology with the launch of its R1000 integrated RFID reader chip.

The R1000 operates along the 860-960 MHz spectrum and claims FCC and ETSI standards compliance. From a sheer capability standpoint, Intel is not dramatically raising the bar versus its established competitors in the RFID silicon space. What it has done, however, is built an integrated, single-chip solution which combines many of the discrete components found in many existing RFID designs-and integrating faster and better than competitors has been an Intel calling card since the original 4004 CPU.

Volume pricing information was not immediately available, but in published interviews, an Intel spokesperson expressed a belief that cost leadership would contribute to cutting the price of so-called "Gen2" RFID reader devices by half over the calendar year. Intel claims upwards of twenty OEM clients for the R1000, with prototype device designs on display as early as the end of March. Although enthusiastic about its growth prospects in the reader, market, thus far Intel has shown no interest in the RFID tag chip market-the small, potentially disposable devices which are applied to or embedded in shipping crates and other products to be tracked later by the RFID readers.