Qualcomm Announces FlashLinq, A P2P Network For Nearby Phones

Imagine being at a concert. As the band wraps up their last song, the lead singer takes the mic and says: “Thanks for coming out everyone! Just for being here, we’re giving you all an exclusive track from our upcoming CD. It should be available on the local wireless network… now!”

Generally, pulling off something like this would be nigh impossible. You’d need a pretty intense wireless infrastructure to handle thousands of freebie-hungry concert goers connecting at once, and then an even beefier backbone to handle the actual transfer. That’s where Qualcomm’s new localized P2P network technology, FlashLinq, comes into play.

As Qualcomm puts it, FlashLinq “enables devices to discover each other automatically and continuously, and to communicate, peer-to-peer, at broadband speeds without the need for intermediary infrastructure.”

In other words, it’ll build a wireless network between FlashLinq-enabled devices, allowing those devices to pass data (like the theoretical exclusive track mentioned above) without some monstrous server doing all the heavy lifting. Qualcomm says

“But wait!” you say, “Isn’t this what WiFi Direct was built for?”.

Yep — the key difference here is that while WiFi Direct can share files between devices, FlashLinq can do that and share connectivity to a cellular network. Nice idea for those situations when only a handful of people in a big crowd can actually manage to pull down any data, right?

So, when can we expect this tech to roll out? Not for a while. Qualcomm’s working with South Korea’s SK Telecom to test out the tech, with trials beginning later this year. If those go well, Qualcomm will have the task of convincing other hardware partners to build this tech into their new gear.

First person to Rick-roll a couple thousand people on one of these networks gets a high five.