Intel to put internet in your pants
Intel and LG Electronicshave joined forces to release a "next-generation" mobile internet device (MID) based on Intel's upcoming Moorestown hardware platform and running Moblin 2.0.
In a joint statement released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Intel senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher said that the co-operative effort "will deliver the best internet experience while dramatically reducing power - contributing to the development of ultra sleek devices that offer superb battery life."
Pankaj Kedia, Intel's director of global ecosystems programs for MID, told The Reg that the planned device is set for release after the Moorestown platform ships. So, "by 2010."
Although the exact specifications of the upcoming device are not yet public, Kedia said that it will put "the mind of a PC in your pocket," providing voice, chat, and data communications, plus internet browsing, navigation, video, games, and more.
"The Moorestown platform will deliver the full internet as you and I know it on a PC. Any website, any video - all of it," he said. "If you want to sit down...you use a netbook or notebook. When you don't have time to sit down, and maybe a clamshell device is too big for you, you want a smaller device that fits in your pocket."
Discussing the other end of the notebook-smartphone continuum, Kedia said, "We expect some buyers to leave their smartphones behind and use communications MIDs," which he referred to as "really smart phones."
Moorestown will be Intel's second-generation MID platform, taking over from the current Menlow platform, which is based on Intel's Atom Z500-series (née Silverthorne) processors and Poulsbo system controller hub.
Moorestown will comprise a pair of new chips: the Lincroft system-on-chip (SoC) processor (which includes memory controller, graphics subsystem, and video encode/decoder), and the Langwell input/output hub (IOH) (which will also control "several board level functions).
Although Kedia declined to offer specific figures on Moorestown's power requirements, he did say that the "rearchitected and repartitioned" Langwell's board-level power management is most responsible for achieving Moorestown's claimed power consumption of one-tenth that of Menlow - which itself, at an average idle power of 160-220 millivolts, is none too shabby.
"We have done some very interesting things about how Langwell controls the rest of the system - display, storage, and other things," said Kedia. "If you're not using them, we shut them down."
One optional Moorestown component that's not likely to make it into the first LG MID will be Evans Peak, a multi-protocol communications chip that will support WiMAX. According to Kedia, LG is partnering with Ericsson to equip the Moorestown MID with 3G-based communications.
Kedia also said that although he couldn't give us "X, Y, Z" dimensions of the upcoming MID, "I can tell you that it's going to be pocketable - you'll be able to take in your jeans."
When asked if the Moorsetown demo video that's been making the web rounds had any relationship to the planned device, he said, "Of course it's reality." He went on to explain that "The videos basically say that the internet will...be part of the day-to-day things that you do - music, games, communicating with your family, watching 3D Google Earth."
He also emphasized that Intel's role is to "supply silicon," and that device makers will decide the specifications and capabilities of various Moorestown-based MIDs. "We're a building block," he said, "Different customers will build different configurations."
As for the future, "We're just getting started with unveiling a customer strategy - feel free to speculate," Kedia said. "We will surprise you."
Perhaps. But surprises can be both good and bad. Intel's ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) initiative never really took off (although some folks keep trying). Menlow-based MIDs are not exactly leaping off the shelves either, having had their momentum quashed by the rise of netbooks.
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