At its recently concluded developer forum in China, Intel showcased to the world its new processor architecture – Atom (formerly called Silverthorne). And to go with this new processor and chip-set are a slew of devices that fill the (also newly) created niche of devices halfway between a high end cell phone and an ultra-mobile PC. Called Mobile Internet Devices, Intel envisions these devices as the ideal solutions for people with the need to access the internet but are constrained by the limited display area and battery life of mobile phones.
At the heart of these devices is the new Atom processor based on Intel’s 45 nm process and small power usage.
In order to work within a small device, Intel developed the Atom chips with a TDP—an internal Intel term that measures the total amount of heat a chip has to dissipate—of between 2.4 and 0.65 watts. By using low-watt processors, Intel is giving up some performance but also hoping to offer between 4 to 6 hours of battery life with the first generation of MIDs, said Anand Chandrasekhar, senior vice president of Intel’s Ultra Mobility Group.
The processor comes with a new platform called Centrino Atom platform and Intel is targeting it at the $10 billion market it is predicting for there devices. The announcements have also received their share of skepticism with many considering it nothing more that ‘Intel-esque’ marketing for a new brand of devices.
An excerpt from ZDNet
Admittedly, I look at some of these MIDs and drool. They look great. They combine the Sony PSP with the iPhone and deliver what could be a great experience. Better yet, you’re tethered to the Internet.
But I’m also at the point where the laptop bag is getting crowded. What device gets voted off the island? And at what price? I found it telling that the iPhone is squeezing out the laptop for some folks. Simply put, there is a substitution effect for these new device categories.
There is a video clip of a prototype MID device at Wired (courtesy JKKMobile). Intel has joined hands with several equipment makers to form the Mobile Internet Device Innovation Alliance and will be targeting the $500 price range for these devices. The devices will have support for Vista or Linux.
Whether or not the the MID is over-hyped, it is a fact that there is an immense need for devices that will provide users on the move access to internet, have long battery life, cost reasonable and provide a wide enough screen for easy usability. But will it be a radical mobile phone interface (like the iPhone’s) or will it be the MID that reigns is to be seen.