Friday, September 21, 2007

Intel to Popularize Mobile Internet Devices

Nowadays the Internet is becoming a more and more important part of daily life, however, the usage of Web is limited by form-factors and ergonomics of mobile devices. On the one hand, notebooks cannot be used everywhere, on the other hand, handsets with Internet capability are not really comfortable for browsing. As a result, there is a strong demand for mobile Internet devices (MIDs), which is Intel planning to respond next year.

“Mobile users are demanding to take the full Internet experience anytime, anywhere – in essence these users want the full Internet to be delivered to them wirelessly and in their pocket. In the first half of 2008, Intel will take a major step to deliver what these users are looking for with our first platform designed from the ground up for MIDs and UMPCs – codenamed Menlow, which will deliver 10x lower power compared to the first UMPCs in the market,” said Anand Chandrasekher, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the ultra mobility group.

The Menlow platform is based on Silverthorne microprocessor, which uses Intel Core 2 micro-architecture, and next-generation chipset, codenamed Poulsbo. Also featured on the Menlow-based designs are optional standardized communications capabilities such as Wi-Fi, 3G and WiMAX to enable more of an always-connected experience. Currently companies like Asustek Computer, BenQ, Compal, Electrobit, HTC, Inventec and Quanta are developing their MIDs and UMPCs, whereas Intel is developing even more advanced platform for small Internet devices.

“After Menlow our next-generation platform, code-named Moorestown, will increase battery life an order of magnitude by reducing idle power by 10x compared to Menlow,” Mr. Chandrasekher proclaimed.

Chandrasekher provided a sneak peek at Moorestown that consists of a system on chip (SOC) design combining the CPU, graphics, video and memory controller onto a single chip. A Moorestown-based MID will have idle power that will be 10x lower than the 2008 Menlow design, enabling longer battery life in smaller form factors.

But while MIDs do look interesting, their destiny is uncertain. Sony released its Mylo gadget with Internet and multimedia player functionality in 2006, but the device never became popular. Nowadays mobile phones get QWERTY keyboards and large screens making additional Internet-only devices as redundant as personal digital assistants became when smartphones gained in functionality.

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