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Intel hopes ‘Moorestown’ MID wishes evolve into reality: Exec outlines chipmaker’s vision of mobile Internet future

BOSTON – The future apparently belongs to mobile Internet devices (MIDs) that will be connected to broadband wireless networks like WiMAX and offer graphically rich, touchscreen-based interfaces, at least according to a glimpse of the future provided by Intel Corp.’s Anand Chandrasekher.
Chandrasekher, VP and general manager of the chipmaker’s “Ultra Mobility Group,” showed off two Intel-produced videos apparently designed to offer the company’s perspective on the future of the mobile Internet space. And the future, it seems, belongs to iPhone-style touchscreens.
The company’s first video offered a definition of “ultra mobile,” which Intel said allows users to “let me be me.” The video included touchscreen gadgets interacting with TVs, location-based services, wireless headsets and some kind of colored bracelet (though its purpose remained unexplained). The montage also featured a navigation device that presumably carried its owner’s driving preferences; once installed in a dashboard, the gadget automatically adjusted the vehicle’s seat and rearview mirrors. The video hinted at services on their way to the market, like photo geo-tagging, as well as those already established in some markets, like video calling.
(Interestingly, video calling has long been heralded as an advanced service demonstrative of the future of wireless, despite early findings from Motorola Inc., NTT DoCoMo and others of consumers’ general dislike for face-to-face calling.)
Intel’s second video offered a deeper look at what appears to be Intel’s preferred MID – a touchscreen device with an interface very similar to that of the Apple Inc. iPhone, but with a longer, thinner design.
Chandrasekher essentially used the videos as sales tools for the company’s forthcoming MID chip, dubbed “Moorestown.” Chandrasekher said Moorestown would be available in 2010, and would provide the same processing power as laptops of 2005.
Chandrasekher also pulled from his pocket some Intel-produced, demo MIDs for Moorestown, including the iPhone-style bar featured in the second video.
Another demo device, which included a music-player interface on one side that flipped open to reveal a QWERTY keypad, drew “oohs” from the audience by flipping inside-out to reveal a 12-key, phone dialing pad. Chandrasekher jokingly referred to the demo gadget as the “speedstick” due to its deodorant-like size and shape.
Chandrasekher said the MID space requires “performance,” presumably a nod toward the computing horsepower provided by Intel’s silicon, as well as “broadband wireless.” Though Chandrasekher only named WiMAX as a network technology, Intel is also hedging on the potential for HSPA as reflected in its recent deal with Ericsson for the technology.
Though Chandrasekher worked to emphasize the market potential for MIDs, recent research appears to show limited interest in such devices. An In-Stat survey found that nearly half its survey respondents chose smartphones as the device of choice, while only 7% would choose MIDs; Forrester Research found that among online consumers, 9% comprise the first wave of likely buyers of MIDs.
Nonetheless, Chandrasekher said the rapid development and success of the Internet indicates a desire to access it via any means necessary – thus the need for high-powered MIDs.

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