Seattle's Impinj has quietly become the leader in production of cutting edge silicon chips for radio frequency identification tags, the tiny tags used to identify and track goods in manufacturing and retail.
Now the company is about to get some competition from Texas Instruments. TI said today it began offering its own so-called Gen 2 RFID chips, which take RFID technology to a more advanced level in terms of fast and accurate data reading and lower power consumption.
Until today, TI had to buy RFID silicon from Impinj, which had 100 percent market share in Gen 2 chips (Impinj designs the chips and has them manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor). Impinj might find another less direct competitor in Hewlett-Packard, which is developing a wireless chip that exchanges data between an object and a reader, like RFID, but with higher speed and more storage capability. But HP says it needs several more years to bring its chip to market.