Intel pimps Mobile Internet Device concept

COMPUTEX — As we mentioned in our VIA post, Intel is also making a strong push in the ultra-mobile arena with its Mobile Internet Device concept. MIDs are essentially a superset of the Ultra-Mobile PC design Intel co-launched with Microsoft last year. MIDs can come in a variety of form factors and run either Linux or Windows.

The VP and Manager of Intel’s Mobile Platforms Group, Anand Chandrasekhar, hosted a presentation on the 84th floor of the cyclopean Taipei 101 tower today to pimp the MID concept and Intel’s upcoming “Menlow” MID platform. Menlow will star WiMax support, a new “Poulsbo” chipset, and a 45nm “Silverthorne” processor with a remarkably small die.

Silverthorne is shown in the bottom left of the slide next to a picture of an NT$1 coin, which is between the U.S. penny and nickel in terms of size. The whole Menlow board is also pictured next to a playing card—not quite in the same field as VIA’s Mobile-ITX board, but quite close nonetheless.

In his presentation, Chandrasekhar compared the current convergence between PCs and phones to the “horseless carriages” of old. He believes MIDs are a whole new class of device and that people shouldn’t think of them in phone or PC terms. The rest of the presentation was devoted to higlighting Intel’s MID partners, which include Asus, Compal, EB, HTC, Quanta, Inventec, and BenQ on the hardware side and Microsoft, Canonical (of Ubuntu Linux fame), and Red Flag Linux on the software side.

After the presentation, Chandrasekhar led us to the 85th floor for a Q&A session. Here, things got interesting, because MID prototype devices were up and running within reach:

Chandrasekhar also let slip a couple of interesting tidbits. When asked about gaming on Menlow devices, he insisted users “will not be disappointed” with Menlow’s graphics capabilities, although he declined to elaborate. According to Chandrasekhar, the size of the MID market will be between that of the cell phone and notebook markets by 2010-2011.

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