updated 09:20 am EDT, Mon October 12, 2009
Intel's MID platform dwarfed by 2012
Intel's mobile Internet device (MID) platform is unlikely to get any significant traction versus smartphones even years into its life, a study from the Information Network says on Monday. Although Intel has very frequently pushed the category, which usually has a screen between five and eight inches and focuses on basic Internet access, it's only expected to sell a fraction of what smartphones will manage. MID numbers should swell from just over 3.1 million shipped to 37.5 million in 2012 but will be easily eclipsed by their phone rivals, which will jump from 185.3 million units to 365 million over the same period, or nearly ten times more units than MIDs.
The analyst group argues that the MID's central problem is its redundancy. As a MID's goal is always-available Internet access and enough battery life to last a day, most smartphones already fulfill the same role.
Critics have widely added that smartphones are often also more viable as they provide an obvious advantage of calling support as well as a more pocketable design. Some examples are also less expensive than MIDs and may be free or under $100 attached to a contract.
Intel's promotion of MIDs is commonly thought to stem from the limitations of the current Atom processor. Even newer 45 nanometer Atom processors normally consume more power and generate more heat than would be acceptable in a smartphone, leaving netbooks and MIDs as the smallest devices that can use the architecture. Atom chips efficient enough to fit in smartphones aren't expected until the first half of 2010 and the unveiling of Intel's next-generation Moorestown architecture.