Universal Electronics & Ozmo Devices Partner To Bring New Generation Of Connected Remotes To Market

Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI), (NASDAQ:UEIC) today announced that it has partnered with fabless semi-conductor company Ozmo Devices (Ozmo) to make available the company’s ultra-low power, low-cost Wi-Fi Direct technologies in UEI’s connected remote control platforms.

In today’s connected homes, Wi-Fi has become the ubiquitous standard for Internet connectivity and is the de-facto connectivity solution across mobile, tablet, consumer electronics, and entertainment delivery platforms.

A new industry standard – Wi-Fi Direct – developed and certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance is further expanding the usability of Wi-Fi, especially as it offers backward compatibility with existing 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi Certified devices in the market. Wi-Fi Direct is gaining rapid adoption highlighted by a range of recent announcements such as native support in operating systems including Google’s Android 4.0 & Microsoft Windows 8, as well as inclusion of Wi-Fi Direct in DLNA interoperability guidelines.

According to In-Stat, an NPD Group company, the number of Wi-Fi Direct-enabled devices shipped in 2011 was estimated to be 173 million led by desktop computers, connected televisions, mobile phones and notebooks. Furthermore, In-Stat expects that every PC, CE device, and mobile phone that ships in 2014 with Wi-Fi silicon will be Wi-Fi Direct-enabled.

Wi-Fi Direct creates a much more powerful Wi-Fi solution, as it enables the premier wireless networking standard to add point-to-point capability, with no need for a Wi-Fi access point. Because Wi-Fi Direct is a software add-on, there is no additional cost to the platform manufacturers over basic Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Direct, with high throughput and compatibility with a wide array of devices, provides a reliable and future-proof platform for innovative new content control and distribution applications within the home.

Through this relationship, UEI and Ozmo plan to bring to market an end-to-end solution that leverages existing integrated Wi-Fi radios in connected devices bundled with a highly integrated, ultra-low-power, low-cost Wi-Fi Direct remote control that delivers reliable, interference-free performance and a long battery life. UEI’s Connected Remotes, with Wi-Fi Direct, provide seamless connectivity for a variety of Wi-Fi-enabled devices in the home allowing the remote to act as a traditional wireless controller using Wi-Fi’s non-line of sight capability while offering cost and performance benefits over other RF solutions.

UEI’s Connected Remote also brings a host of benefits to today’s connected consumers, where an estimated 70% of tablet users use their tablets while watching television. Through Wi-Fi Direct, UEI’s Connected Remotes will be able to wirelessly connect to tablets and add them to the control ecosystem, providing a simpler, more user-friendly TV viewing experience.

Current “IR bridge” solutions are expensive and hard to set up with limited appeal to mainstream consumers because the “bridge” has no consumer benefit when the tablet is absent.

UEI’s Connected Remote will bring added value in leveraging the rich user interface of those touch screen devices by enabling:
  • a lean forward control experience when a tablet is used and a lean back experience with the connected remote when the tablet is removed;
  • zero set-up and configuration of the UEI touch screen control app so users can be up and running in minutes; and
  • Wi-Fi Direct integration that adds minimal component cost to the traditional remote but delivers a huge value-add in terms of performance and connectivity.

“With the ability to connect our remotes to many Wi-Fi devices in the home, we will be able to bring a host of new features and services that will make the remote control, not only an integral feature, but also a key component of the connected home,” said Paul Arling, chairman and chief executive officer of UEI. “The opportunity to partner with Ozmo, who shares the same innovative spirit as UEI, promises to bring exciting new product solutions for our customers and end users.”

“Leveraging the ubiquitous Wi-Fi infrastructure and our current technology roadmap, we believe we have a strong market advantage compared to existing wireless remote control technologies like RF4CE and Bluetooth,” said Bill McLean, Ozmo’s chief executive officer. “As the worldwide leader in wireless AV control, UEI brings a rich history of innovative product introductions that have shaped the remote control industry. We are excited to have chosen UEI as our partner in this market and look forward to jointly driving a new standard in connectivity for home entertainment peripherals.”

UEI and Ozmo will be demonstrating new product concepts surrounding their partnership at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 10-13, 2012. UEI’s booth is located at 20211 in South Hall 1. Ozmo Devices will be hosting invited guests at their suite in the Bellagio Hotel.

About Ozmo Devices

Ozmo Devices is the leading provider of low-power Wi-Fi PAN solutions. Ozmo Devices extends the functionality of Wi-Fi-enabled platforms to seamlessly communicate with peripherals. Ozmo Devices’ silicon solution delivers superior performance for low-power wireless peripherals like mice and headsets. Ozmo Devices is backed by top-tier venture capital firms and managed by semiconductor industry veterans. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and has offices in the United Kingdom and Taiwan. For more information about Ozmo Devices, visit www.ozmodevices.com.

About Universal Electronics Inc.

Founded in 1986, Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI) is the global leader in wireless control technology for the connected home. UEI designs, develops, and delivers innovative solutions that enable consumers to control entertainment devices, digital media, and home systems. The company’s broad portfolio of patented technologies and database of infrared control software have been adopted by many Fortune 500 companies in the consumer electronics, subscription broadcast, and computing industries. UEI sells and licenses wireless control products through distributors and retailers under the One For All® brand name. More information is available at www.uei.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the Safe-Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words and expressions reflecting something other than historical fact are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including the timely development, delivery and market acceptance of products and technologies identified in this release; the continued penetration and growth of Wi-Fi Direct and other RF technologies and markets identified in this release; and other factors described in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The actual results that the Company achieves may differ materially from any forward looking statement due to such risks and uncertainties. The Company undertakes no obligations to revise or update any forward-looking statements in order to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this release.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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