According to the Wi-Fi Alliance website, there are now 230 products certified for Wi-Fi Direct support. And yet, despite tracking the standard’s progress for more than 18 months, I’ve seen virtually zero traction at the consumer level. I can think of three reasons for this. First, some of the products certified likely haven’t been released yet. LG’s got a list of products a mile long, but many were only certified in the last six weeks. Second, as a reporter at Wired noted last October, different Wi-Fi Direct devices support different types of connections. This is odd because the new standard is supposed to be compatible even with regular Wi-Fi products. However, apparently depending on how a new product is designed, it might for example, support Wi-Fi Direct printing, but, not a Wi-Fi Direct connection to an external display.
Third and finally, nobody’s made a good case to consumers yet on the benefits of Wi-Fi Direct. The simplest use case for the new standard might be the one for easy wireless printing. Unfortunately, I’ve only seen one printer listed as supporting Wi-Fi Direct, and it turns out the HP LaserJet Pro 100 will require a firmware upgrade in the future to get the additional wireless feature. It would seem that a Wi-Fi Direct connection for a TV or monitor would also be an easy sell, but I’ve seen nobody market it well. Think about it. How nice would it be to be able to throw a video up on the TV from a laptop without having to connect to the Internet? No router configuration, and no worry about bandwidth caps.
I assume it’s only a matter of time before Wi-Fi Direct takes off, but with the first products certified last October, I thought we’d be a little further along in the process by now. Where’s the marketing machine?