Sure, Intel’s been raking it in with the Atom that is powering so many netbooks being sold in these economically challenged times, but now the chip company is hoping to take a cut of an even more mobile market– that of MIDs, or mobile Internet devices.
Intel is adapting its Atom processor to vie with that of the ARM classification, which are popularly included in iPhones and other mobile devices. Intel will begin pumping out a new, lower-powered version of the processor, branded Moorestown, in 2009 or 2010, designed especially for MIDs. Along with making the Atom more mobile-worthy, Intel is developing an open source OS, dubbed Moblin 2, to be included on its MIDs.
These upcoming MIDs are not exactly smartphones– they’ll lack certain phone-centric capabilities while incorporating more that give it the feel of a desktop system, making a sort of cross-breed between smartphone and netbook– but are expected to take a cut out of Apple’s iPhone market, not to mention Microsoft’s dwindling Windows Mobile fleet. The said MIDs could be used “to play high-definition video, make Internet-powered phone calls, or download directions and local business listings on the go,” though I imagine it will hold plenty of more capabilities in store so as to truly compete with Apple and Microsoft.
Microsoft casts a leery, and possibly somewhat jealous, eye at Intel’s attempts to enter the mobile market. “I’m not sure there’s a third category of device” in between the cell phone and the netbook, said Andy Lees, a senior vice-president in Microsoft’s mobile communications area. “The thing that distinguishes a phone is it goes in your pocket or purse. If you have a six-inch screen, that’s no-man’s land.”
Whether Intel is successful and creates a new hybrid market between smartphone and netbook is to be decided by consumers.