News | April 12, 2011

Alien Technology Unveils Hot Trio Of Leading RFID Technologies For Improved Performance And Low Cost

New IC and Mobile Handheld RFID Reader Claim Best-in-Class With Up To 20 Percent Greater Sensitivity Than Competition

Alien Technology, an industry leader in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) products and services, recently announced a trio of new high-performance, best-in-class technologies led by the low-cost Higgs 4 (Higgs) Integrated Circuit (IC).

The Higgs 4 IC boasts the industry's highest sensitivity rating and enables best-in-class read accuracy and rates, optimized user memory, advanced security features and a sleek design targeted at cost-sensitive applications. The Higgs 4 IC provides up to a 20 percent sensitivity improvement over competitive products and a new industry-leading price point for rapidly expanding mature and emerging markets. Complementing the Higgs 4 IC are Alien's innovative mobile handheld reader that delivers true mobility with industry-leading receive sensitivity, and four new inlay antennas that deliver exceptional range, reliability and price/performance for a broad range of RFID applications.

With its improved performance and smaller footprint, Alien's new Higgs 4 IC is projected to become the flagship product for Alien's RFID family and will begin sampling in June. The new IC is targeted at converters, packaging suppliers, service bureaus, inlay manufacturers and end-user customers that need exceptional value with no compromises. With unique tag identification and extended memory capabilities, the Higgs 4 IC enhances RFID applications that include item-level tracking of apparel, electronics, sporting goods, luxury items, pharmaceutical drugs, spirits and tobacco.

"Based on benchmark testing, the Alien Higgs 4 IC builds on the heritage of Alien's industry-leading Higgs 3 IC that currently powers Alien's Squiggle portfolio of technologies," said Peter Green, CEO of Alien Technology Corporation. "With this new smaller, lower-cost IC, Alien meets customer demand by staying ahead of the competition in performance and sensitivity for passive RFID tags."

Next, Alien's new ALH-900x family of mobile handheld readers delivers best-in-class receive sensitivity, enhanced interference rejection and a compact ergonomic footprint with high read rates for demanding retail, supply chain, manufacturing and other asset-management applications.

The readers help users deploy EPC Gen 2 RFID solutions utilizing the Window CE Net 5.0 operating system with a lightweight design, 3.5-inch VGA touch screen, WIFI and Bluetooth integrated in an easy-to-integrate, easy-to-manage package that provides unparalleled ergonomics and ease of use for the operator. The ALH-900x supports both Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6c standards and versions for the U.S. and EU will be available in May.

Additionally, the Squiggle member of Alien's inlay family continues to provide exceptional range, reliability and price for a broad range of traditional and innovative RFID applications. The newest additions to the family include the Squiglette (ALN-9630), H (ALN-9627), Squig (ALN-9610) and SIT (ALN-9613), which all deliver outstanding EPC Gen2 performance and reliability in narrower, compact form factors that make them ideal for item-level applications.

Alien Higgs 4 IC: A Powerful Advance for the Industry
Key features of the new Alien Higgs 4 IC include:

Authentication: The Higgs 4 IC has a 64-bit Unique Tag ID (UTID) that is programmed at the factory and can't be altered. This security feature allows the manufacturer to ensure the authenticity of any product it sells — particularly important for products that are subject to counterfeiting, diversion and tax or duty fraud. Higgs 4 IC also has Alien's Dynamic authentication features to defeat production at unauthorized silicon foundries or counterfeiting of the chip itself.

Memory: Higgs 4 IC delivers memory flexibility that goes beyond EPC Gen 2 standards for 96- and 128-bit records. Higgs 4 IC also offers block-level, data-access passwords, enabling accelerated block programming commands. The new IC has 128 bits of user memory that allows it to support legacy part-numbering structures, service records and chain of custody requirements such as e-pedigree. The user memory can be subdivided into blocks and assigned read and write passwords, allowing the IC to contain both public and private data. The IC also supports EPC that allows for the use of alternate part number encoding standards as well as proprietary schemes.

Sensitivity: Providing another best-in-class feature, the Higgs 4 IC improves upon the industry-leading, interference-rejection performance of the Higgs 3 IC. These improvements result in higher read rates, optimal performance in noisy Radio Frequency environments, smaller tags and greater read range.

Interoperability: Designed in compliance with the latest EPC V1.2 specification, the Higgs 4 IC supports both mandatory and optional EPC Gen 2 commands. This includes item-level commands that work with all EPC Gen 2 compliant readers. Alien RFID ICs are designed to integrate with either UHF Near Field or Far Field antennas and accommodate global UHF tags for spectrum bands from 840MHz to 960MHz.

Following June samples, general availability for the Alien Higgs 4 IC is scheduled for late September. Like the Higgs 3 IC that has been shipping since September 2008, the Higgs 4 will be available in several packaging options, including inlays and Flip Chip Wafers.

"The introduction of the Higgs 4 IC is a powerful advance for Alien and the industry. We'll continue to offer both the Higgs 3 IC — with its 800 bits for those applications requiring larger memory and the Higgs 4 with its lower cost and enhanced sensitivity. Each will be available in a single package that gives customers the flexibility to choose among their desired features," said Steve Smith, CTO and founder of Alien Technology.

About Higgs
Alien has traditionally named its RFID ICs after subatomic particles – the building blocks of matter. Since Alien's initial offering of EPC Class 1 compliant silicon ICs in 2002, the Higgs family is the fourth generation of RFID IC platforms from Alien, and has been preceded by the Quark, Omega and Lepton. The Higgs 3 chip is currently the industry's best performing IC, and the Higgs4 IC builds on that foundation by offering improved performance and enhanced authentication capabilities. For more information, visit

About Alien Technology
Founded in 1994, Alien Technology is a leading technology and product provider of UHF Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Integrated Circuits (IC), tags, readers and professional services. Alien Gen 2 products, along with software solutions from partners, help solve business problems for customers to improve productivity, processes, security and asset tracking for closed-loop and supply chain systems. These solutions are currently implemented in industries such as consumer packaged goods, retail apparel, manufacturing, transportation, airports and cargo logistics, government and defense, and more. Alien's facilities include corporation headquarters in Morgan Hill, CA; the Alien RFID Solutions Center in the Dayton, OH region; and sales offices in the US, Europe and Asia. Alien is a member of EPCglobal.

SOURCE: Alien Technology