updated 08:00 am EDT, Fri June 5, 2009
Market for MIDs Crashing
Sales of mobile Internet devices (MIDs) have fallen well short of Intel's expectations for the category it invented, those at companies making the devices claimed on Friday. The American company reportedly estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 of the handheld devices would sell since the Atom Z500 was launched in March but, according to DigiTimes' sources, has only managed 30,000 actual sales. Economic conditions have rendered the devices too expensive for many, while others have been reluctant to use the 3G data features inherent to MIDs.
Intel has responded to the claims by insisting it's in a required quiet period ahead of when it releases official fiscal results; regardless, it also defended MIDs by claiming the market has "great potential." The company is supposedly hoping to force greater adoption by limiting sales of its future, ultra-mobile Moorestown processors solely to MID-sized devices. These are expected to ship in early 2010.
MIDs are intended as crossovers between feature-limited media players and full computer-class devices like UMPCs; they typically have screens of about 5 inches and either run a Linux variant or, in some cases, Windows XP. Critics have said the hardware is a compromise that is often too expensive and too large to be totable but without the feature set that would justify a larger device. Microsoft has also had difficulty spurring adoption of similarly-shaped UMPCs, and even one of the format's key supporters, OQO, has been forced to shut down.