The mobile Internet device (MID) market, at least according to this post at GigaOm, is generating a lot of attention. The post compares MID initiatives from Intel, Qualcomm, Via Technologies and a new entrant from Texas Instruments.
The subtext of the piece, however, is more important than which chip will come out on top. The more important point is that all of these vendors see the MID category as one with tremendous upside potential. The mobile chip makers, the writer says, are betting that the category will be "huge."
This NewsFactor Network story does a good job of tracing the history -- or, more precisely, the pre-history -- of the MID. Its immediate antecedent is the ultra mobile PC (UMPC) from Microsoft, but the basic idea goes back for generations. The rationale is that there is a niche for a fully-featured mid-size Web-enabled mobile device. There is a lot to the idea, but it also is a bit of a gamble in an era when smart phones are becoming more powerful and laptops are becoming sleeker. The writer is bit skeptical that this will happen -- but seems that he would be happy if it does.
Device evolution doesn't happen in a vacuum. MIDs are gaining so much attention because equipment providers want to have the right mobile gear available when WiMax and LTE start delivering high levels of bandwidth. This TMC.net writer says that two ecosystems are set to do battle over MIDs: The PC industry (Intel's Atom, AMD and Via) and the mobile industry (TI, Qualcomm and others).
A new report from Strategy Analytics -- which was mentioned in the TMC.net post -- says that the MID market will reach 1 million units this year and explode to 69 million by 2014. At that point, it will be worth more than $17 billion. The firm says that the ARM-based mobile device ecosystem will predominate. The main reason is that Intel's main play in the MID market -- Moorestown -- won't be in the market until 2009 or 2010, which will afford the ARM group a valuable time-to-market advantage.