I just had an interesting briefing on the Mobile Internet Device (MID) outlook that is driving Intel's strategy for their Ultra Mobility Group. Intel is certainly enjoying the explosion in sales of the Atom processor that have come with the current netbook craze. They are expecting netbooks to continue to be the hot sellers next year.
Intel is the one firm that has promoted the concept of the MID long before we began seeing any of these little computers. They took great pains to explain that MIDs are still a big focal point of their strategy and that they fully expect them to take off soon. They envision a selection of consumer focused MIDs that target particular usage scenarios. They foresee MIDs that specialize in narrow uses such as entertainment, navigation and gaming. They believe you'll be able to go into a big box retailer one day and buy a gaming MID. They predict we should see a lot of new MIDs at the CES in January.
There is constant confusion about terminology where netbooks, MIDs and UMPCs are concerned and Intel shared their internal definitions for these categories. They see netbooks as clamshell notebooks with a 7 - 10.2-inch screen that is "purpose built for Internet use". MIDs are pocketable devices with a 4 to 7-inch screen that take a clamshell, slider or tablet form and are custom built for "Internet-based targeted usages". These usages they define as productivity, entertainment, information or communications. They stated repeatedly that they believe MIDs will focus on one of these usage scenarios in a given device and be sold as a consumer product in stores.
The Atom processor will be the processor that Intel will continue to produce for both netbooks and MIDs. In 2009/ 2010 the next generation Atom, the Moorestown, will offer a 10x reduction in idle power consumption and add specific communications capabilities to aid in MID online performance. Intel plans to continue working with a lot of third party OEMs and ISVs to help bring MIDs to the mainstream where they think it will go. They have a strong backing for the Moblin Linux distribution and expect to see that become a major player in the MID arena.