Are Intel MIDs evolving into "smarter smartphones"?


When the Director of Mobile Internet Devices for Intel says that the future of cell phones is "computers that happen to make a phone call," two things come to mind. The first is obviously Intel's upcoming Moorestown-based mediaphones, which were shown at Computex in June and are expected to be among the highlights of IDF later this month. The second, for me anyway, is whether Intel MIDs without phone capabilities are heading toward their demise.

We already know that many non-Intel MIDs are merging the smartphone and MID categories into one, and we've seen evidence that at least some of Intel's devices plan to do the same (assuming they make it to market, of course), but does this mean that soon we won't see or hear of any MIDs that aren't phones?

Considering that built-in 3G still isn't a standard feature on mobile internet devices, the idea of MIDs and smartphones becoming even more synonymous than they already are doesn't sit well with me. My ideal MID isn't a phone (many of your "perfect" devices aren't either), but I think the window for getting what some of us truly want is getting smaller by the day. What about you?

Photo from ars technica

Pocketables does not accept targeted advertising, phony guest posts, paid reviews, etc. Help us keep this way with support on Patreon!
become a patron button - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

More posts by Jenn | Subscribe to Jenn's posts

Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

12 thoughts on “Are Intel MIDs evolving into "smarter smartphones"?

  • Avatar of Mike
    September 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Maybe I’m weird, maybe not but I like to keep my phone separate from my other gadgets. I just don’t like the two to be combined. I think its a psychological thing where sometimes I don’t want to be reached.

    At the same time, if there’s the perfect mid and it happens to be able to make phone calls, well I don’t have any problems with that. Of course the problem with making cellphones is that screen real estate gets very compromised.

    It’ll be interesting to see if the transformation is phones that are also MIDS and MIDS that happen to make phone calls.

  • Avatar of ChicaBoom
    September 10, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    You are not weird, Mike. Or if you are, then you are not alone. I don’t want my MID to be a phone either, especially if it means a higher price tag or a contract with a carrier.

  • Avatar of turn_self_off
    September 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    one thing is that one can update a phone independent of the computer.

    another is that one now have two batteries, and the phone is not drained while using wifi somewhere .

    third is that you can leave the “expensive” pocket computer at home while going out a night. Less risk of broken or lost that way.

  • Avatar of Frank
    September 10, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    I don’t see why a phone has to be seperate. I hate carrying more than one thing. Why can’t I carry around a laptop that stays off and has some kind of built in bluetooth headset or even a retractable wired headset? I know it was the battery power. The main reason why I want it all in one is because I hardly ever make calls with my phone and if it doesn’t do more than make calls I won’t carry it, then if my car breaks down or some other emergency, I’m screwed. I had rollover minutes the second month I had my Iphone. I have to say they have missed the boat now, I’m pretty old and have evolved past needing a device bigger than a phone and I KNOW kids these days have definately evolved thanks to texting.

  • Avatar of jethro_static
    September 10, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    As I said Before, Bill Gates predicted this years Ago. He said that the Phones specs are going up.ANd the computers specs is going down. They will meet in the middle. This is exactly what he’s talking about. A phone today has a 1Ghz CPU(Snapdragon). There are lower end commputers like Atom based.

    This is not a question of wether I want it with a phone or I want it without. Day by Day, MID’s and UMPC sales is going down. Juz bcoz in this economy, People would rather use their phone as a MID rather than buying an actual MID and getting a contract if it is 3G capable. Majority of the people cannot pay extra for a MID. Only few has the money to do that. And those majority are the are the manufacturers target.

    So in the next coming years, Expect that phones will me more and more like a MID rather than a Phone. There is no Stoping it. A cell phone is a neccesity. A MID to a lot of people is just for luxury. Put it together, U got more interested parties. Ever heard of the rumored HTC Leo? B4 TG01, People said that they will not get a phone larger than 3.5″ like on the Iphone. Now with the Leo, Everyone is hyped. Everyone is asking. Everyone is excited. Leo has a 4.3″ windows mobile phone. If this phone is as successful as the Touch HD,(Which BTW has 3.8″ screen)Expect the slow demise of MID’s, as we know it.

    I was just reading an article about Apple tablet smashing the kindle. According to the author, Senior Steve said this “…I think the general-purpose devices will win the day. Because I think people just probably aren’t willing to pay for a dedicated device.”

    Exactly my point.

  • Avatar of yves
    September 11, 2009 at 9:49 am

    The qustion is: what is a MID?

    If you “only” need a mobile internet device with browsing and multimedia capabilities, and if you don’t care having to zoom or scroll when reading web pages optimized for (at least) 1024 pixel width screens, a 3.5″ smartphone can be named “MID”.

    If you want a (relatively) low cost, ultra mobile personal computer, able to replace a netbook for most of its usages, you probably need a 1024×600 resolution; and the minimum screen size making it readable is 4.8″. Too big for a phone except if you permanently use a bluetooth headset (I don’t like that, but I’m perhaps a bit too old :)

    I prefer carrying a smaller phone (which doesn’t need to be smart), and a pocketable computer supporting a standard OS: I can leave my laptop at home or at my office most of the time, what I couldn’t do with a smartphone.

  • Avatar of jethro_static
    September 11, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Some people are mistaken the difference between a MID and a UMPC. Some people say it’s the size. That is not really the major difference between the 2. The major difference between a UMPC and a MID is the OS. Once U put a Desktop OS on a device, whether it has 4.3″ or 7″ screen, It is a UMPC. MID’s on the other hand have a modified lighter OS like WinCE, Android, Moblin etc,etc. So if people are thinking that a MID will replace their Laptops and netbooks, this is not true. MID will not do ur Microsoft Office although it can, but it’s really hard to do it on a small screen. It will not do your Video editing etc. It will just let U carry ur internet connectivity on the go. Emails, blogs, watching streaming videos and stuffs like that.
    SO as of now, the only thing that separates a Smartphone from a MID is just the Web Browser. This is due to the screen size. Phone’s do pan and zoom because of it’s small screen. When that gap is connected, I see people will start to lean on 1 side.

  • Avatar of Jenn K. Lee
    September 11, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I agree that there is a distinction between a MID and a UMPC. Unfortunately, however, manufacturers (Viliv, UMID, etc.) and even Intel have pretty much abandoned use of the UMPC term in favor of the more favorable MID buzzword.

    I think Intel had even categorized UMPCs under the MID umbrella term at one point, but I don’t know if they’re still doing that.

    To me, what’s worse than people calling a UMPC a MID is when they call anything with a clamshell form factor a netbook. I cringe when I see the UMID and Sharp NetWalker being called netbooks! I think I even saw the Viliv S5 being called a “netbook without a keyboard” or something ridiculous like that. >_<

  • Avatar of jethro_static
    September 11, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I guess they are tryin to kill “UMPC” term at all.They prolly wanna consider them under 1 unbrella. Coz the difference between a UMPC and a MID is already confusing to other people. Now U gotta add the difference between a UMPC and a Tablet. Archos nine is stuck in the middle. But then, they call it a Tablet.

    So what would happen to UMPCportal now? LOL. Anyways, I tried to search “viliv umpc” and “viliv mid”. I got 1.6 million hits on “viliv umpc” and 1.48 million hits on “viliv mid” So I guess that is the turning point.

    So Anyways, If there is a MID/Phone that will come out with a full OS, I would say pass on that. Full OS and a Phone just doesn’t mix for me. XPphone anyone?

  • Avatar of Vakeros
    September 13, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    There are two real reasons to have separate phone and PC:
    1) Battery life – you don’t want to lose all connectivity by draining watching a video or browsing or whatever – easy workaround is to have 10% reserved for phone so all other functionality is lost once that point is reached. Possibly allow a slider for more to be reserved.
    2)Cost – I can only afford a cheap phone!

    3) Size – you can’t take anything bigger than a small phone with you. For people who are concerned about looks, don’t have pockets, don’t want to carry a purse. For everyone else who wears a jacket, this isn’t a valid reason.
    4) When you only want to be able to make phone calls – this is actually a pathetic reason. Because you just might want to add to this, like listen to a bit of music, or take a photo, or texting or GPS etc. The more you have the device with you, the more you want to be able to do things with it.

    I see the validity of the first two, don’t really see the other two and for my own lifestyle (and I think for most people) having one device is the best. The arguments about UMPC vs MID vs smartphone is for geeks. Can I do what I want with it reasonably well. If yes I want it. I want an all-in-one. You can get a 5.4″ screen into a device 120x90mm, which isn’t much bigger than phones out their now – iPhone is 115 x 61. You can get a 4.4″ screen in a 120×75 sized device. Personally I would love a device with 5.4″ in just slighly longer and a bit wider than iPhone. This is shorter but wider than an N810.
    You can get

  • Avatar of
    September 14, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    the problem there is that the concept of a “desktop os” gets more and more blurred.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.