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Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs)

written by: Arnold Zafra•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/26/2008

Next to netbooks, mobile internet devices (MIDs) are being touted as the next wave in the computer industry. Similar in features and capabilities to netbooks and ultra-portable PCs, MIDs have the added advantage of a smaller form factor. Here are some things to know to help you understand MIDs.

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    What are Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs)?

    samsung To distinguish MIDs from Ultra-Portable Mobile PCs and Netbooks, one simply has to think of the size before going further into the differences in specs and details. MIDs are smaller than UMPCs and Netbooks but bigger than mobile phones. Wikipedia defines an MID as "a multimedia-capable handheld computer providing wireless Internet access."

    In a more detailed explanation, Intel.com describes MIDs in the following manner: "Mobile Internet Devices represent a new category of small, truly mobile devices that give you an amazing Internet experience -- allowing you to communicate with others, enjoy your favorite entertainment, and access information on-the-go." From these two definitions alone, we can already differentiate MIDs from other gadgets sporting a smaller form factor.

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    What are the Hardware and Software Configurations of MIDs?

    Another way of distinguishing MIDs from other portable handheld devices is by looking at their features and specs, including the operating systems and hardware features. With the introduction of MIDs with dual-core processors, these devices can now run Windows XP or Windows Vista as an alternative OS to Linux. MIDs also support Ubuntu, an open source operating system. This spawned the release of the Ubuntu MID Edition.

    On the hardware front, MIDs are equipped with Intel processors and chipsets made specifically for these devices. From 2007 up to now, there have been 3 known Intel platforms that were used for MIDs - McCaslin platform in 2007, Menlow Platform in 2008, and the Moorestown Platform which will be introduced in 2009. The McCaslin platform consists of the Intel A100/A110 processor 90 nm with a 600-800 MHz speed. This year's Atom processor with 45 nm CMOS characterizes the Menlow platform. This platform utilizes the Poulsbo Chipset and has a published speed of 1.86 GHz. Intel has not released any information yet regarding the Moorestown platform which will be produced in 2009.

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    What are the Features of MIDs?

    Based on the prototype MIDs demonstrated by Intel during the IDC in April 2007, MIDs have the following general features:

    • display screen measuring 4.5 to 6 inches
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    What are the Latest Models of MIDs?

    Viliv S5

    Viliv S5 is so new that it has not even been released yet. But the manufacturer has already announced this MID a few days ago. For its form factor, you might think that this MID is actually a PMP (portable media player), but although it can provide good media playback quality, the Viliv S5 is actually an MID. There are not many details about this MID yet, but so far we know that it will have a 3G option and a 24w battery pack capable of giving out 5-6 hours of video playback.

    Wibrain i1

    This MID is equipped with HSDPA and sports a rounded-edge form factor. It features a WWAN antenna, a 1.1 GHz or 1.33GHz processor, and an SD card slot plus all the other standard MID features such as mobile internet browsing capability.

    Gigabyte MID M528

    This MID boasts a Linux OS, 800MHz Intel Atom Z500 processor, 4GB solid state drive, a 300k MP web cam, 3MP auto-focus camera and weighs only 340g.

    Aigo MID 888W

    This MID features an 800 MHz Intel Atom CPU, Linux OS, 4.8-inch screen, LED backlight, soft finger touch display, 512 MB RAM, 4GB Flash memory, and a 10Wh battery.

    LG XNote B831

    Pending the announcement of its official name, this MID from LG is being temporarily called as the Xnote B831. This Menlow-based device sports a 4.8-inch touchscreen, 40GB Hard Drive, 1GB RAM, HSDPA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and weighs 1.3 pounds.