The major difference between this and WiFi (aside from the range) is that unlike WiFi -- which operates in unlicensed spectrum -- FlashLinq requires licensed 5MHz TDD spectrum. That enables control over interference, which in turns boosts range and device density. Moreover, this system uses dramatically less power than BT or WiFi to sense other devices -- you're only using power for discovery two percent of the time, we're told. Beyond that, a lot remains up in the air. The company is still hammering out which chips will ship with FlashLinq support, and it'll be waiting for results from its SK Telecom trial (which starts in April) before committing to a commercialization date. Sadly, none of this can be retrofitted into older devices, but the good news is that it's hardly limited to mobiles. FlashLinq-enabled televisions, laptops, in-car infotainment systems, etc. could all be used to create a discoverable network of interactive goodness, but of course, it's hard to say how much success Qualcomm will have in a world already loaded down with connectivity options. The technology itself is fairly fascinating, though, as is the social networking demonstration that's embedded just past the break. Hop on down and mash play, won't you?
Qualcomm's FlashLinq long-range peer-to-peer communications tech at MWC 2011