1394 Trade Association says FireWire is doing just fine
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1394 Trade Association says FireWire is doing just fine

New notebook computers from global leaders such as Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Sony and others incorporate FireWire (which Apple developed, by the way) -- and the 800 Megabit/second version (S800) is now a virtual standard in storage systems from leading manufacturers, sys James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. The number of 1394-equipped notebookss has increased by approximately 20 percent in 2008.

Snider says that, among the personal computers recommended to users by Consumer Reports in its December 2008 edition, 75 percent featured FireWire, including brands from Sony, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and Hewlett Packard. In addition, Microsoft will support the new 800 Megabit/second version of FireWire in upcoming Windows Version 7 releases next year. Yep, that's right. It seems a lot of companies are more enthused about the technology than Apple is.

In fact, Snider says the popularity of FireWire has been "registered enthusiastically" in the weeks following Apple's decision to remove it from the MacBoo,. A petition requesting its reinstatement has drawn signatures from users worldwide. Comments from users about the decision have been collected and appear in a list of weblogs and postings with links to articles and quotes. The comments are also on the 1394 Trade Association web site.

“The overwhelming support for FireWire is proof of the strength of the technology and the value users place on it,” Snider says. “The feedback also points to the value that applications realize as users and designers continue to adopt the more powerful FireWire800 standard. There is every indication that Apple executives are paying attention to the FireWire discussion and want to address users’ concerns.”

He adds that virtually all HDV cameras continue to rely on FireWire for transfers, including some models that have become very popular with independent producers. The installed base of FireWire camcorders is still enormous, including many high-definition applications, Snider adds.

Also, most pro and semi-pro cameras continue to use FireWire, because HDV remains preferred over AVCHD. And many professionals also select MacBooks and use them for on-the-road capture. “FireWire also remains the preferred interface for multichannel audio," says Snider.

Among other key market sectors, the number of 1394-equipped set top boxes shipped worldwide is up more than 25 percent in 2008. Computer peripherals that incorporate FireWire are purportedly growing between 17 to 20 percent.

Snider says that new markets for 1394 also are now emerging. The 1394-Automotive standard has been developed as a major specification for vehicle entertainment, navigation and other automotive applications, and the first 1394-equipped vehicle networks will begin contributing to applications growth in 2009. Also, the completion of the new UWB over Coax specification has added a powerful and efficient new standard for whole home networking.

“1394 has continued its strong growth across a broad range of applications and market sectors in 2008,” says Snider. “FireWire delivers the best speed and performance of any standard for a wide range of applications, as evidenced by stable and steady increases in 1394's adoption globally in the hard disk storage, industrial camera and automation markets. And the 1394-Automotive standard, which was developed in conjunction with major automakers worldwide, is gaining significant traction now, bringing the comprehensive in-vehicle network to cars beginning next year.”

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