Intel is in the enabling game. As a building block supplier, our business is based on the premise that when our customers win, we win, too. We are also in an industry that is constantly pursuing the next big thing to drive new waves of growth and business opportunities. The Mobile Internet Device (MID) category is a candidate for the “next big thing” in mobile computing, although some skeptics question its appeal.By its very name, it is obvious that a MID will connect to the Internet and consume Internet content and services. However, the “Mobile” part of the name suggests that the resulting experience may have the user interface limitations typical of small devices. A MID may have a bigger screen than a typical mobile phone, but it can’t be dramatically bigger without becoming the equivalent of a notebook or tablet PC. So, will the MID end up being too small (or too large) to be the next big thing? Maybe, maybe not. I think part of the answer lies in thinking outside of the MID box and recognizing the potential of connecting MIDs to other devices around it. For example, digital TVs have big screens capable of delivering a compelling visual experience. Imagine if digital TVs included a wireless display feature (either integrated or through an external adapter) so that a MID could easily use that large display instead of or in addition to the integrated screen of the MID. It is not much of a stretch to see the possibilities around this combination of technologies. However, as Edison said, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. It is going to take a lot of collective industry perspiration to enable broad deployment of technologies such as wireless remote displays and compatible mobile devices in such a way that the non-geniuses of the world will be able to make it all work. Intel is working on this and other similar problems together with fellow-travelers in the industry. As we identify the necessary set of technologies and standards to support, we will integrate them into our next-generation mobile devices (both laptops and MIDs). If we succeed, the MID may confound its detractors and become the next big thing after all. Then the OEMs who use Intel’s mobile platforms will have great opportunities to pursue that next wave of growth, and we will grow along with them. After all, Intel is in the enabling game. Vic Lortz is a Research Scientist and senior architect at Intel’s Communications Technology Lab in Hillsboro, Oregon. He holds a B.A. degree in Physics and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer science. In his Ph.D. research at the University of Michigan, he developed methods for time-bounded resource sharing on multiprocessors for hard real-time applications such as machine control and robotics. Since joining Intel in 1994, Vic has focused primarily on technologies related to home networking and wireless network security. He has participated in numerous standards activities, including serving as chair of UPnP Security in 2003 and lead architect and co-editor of Wi-Fi Protected Setup in 2006.
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