That’s the question I had after reading a UMPC Portal post making a last call for MIDs in 2008. Last call? When was the first call answered? There were plenty of Mobile Internet Devices shown off at the recent Intel Developers Forum, but we’re hearing far […]

That’s the question I had after reading a UMPC Portal post making a last call for MIDs in 2008. Last call? When was the first call answered? There were plenty of Mobile Internet Devices shown off at the recent Intel Developers Forum, but we’re hearing far more about netbooks than MIDs even though the MID concept was born before the netbook idea.

I like the idea of MIDs, I really do. My iPhone is a MID that I use daily. The Nokia Internet Tablet is a nice MID also. But I’m wondering if the time has passed for the original MID vision due to a few factors:
  • The lines are blurring between feature-phones and smartphones. Consumers are getting some of the MID functions from these devices already and clearly, they’re already carrying their phone just about everywhere.
  • Netbooks have the focus right now and although they’re larger and not pocketable, they are very portable and have the capabilities to access the internet while mobile.
  • There are way too many possible MID interfaces and no emerging standard in terms of software just yet. That’s coming through the Moblin project but the market is passing by.
At this point, with very few devices available and the lack of consumer recognition of the term "MID", average consumers are buying other solutions. Phones are getting more advanced and offering a better Internet experience with with each generation plus they have built-in connectivity. Netbooks aren’t too big or too heavy. Hmmm….  I’m starting to think that MIDs in their original form are going the way of the UMPC. I’m trying to think about this from the mainstream consumer point of view… not as the mobile tech addict that I really am. Thoughts as they relate to you as a mobile tech maven or as an everyday consumer?
  1. Hahahaha. Silly Kevin. They aren’t dieing a slow death. they were NEVER alive to die. It was just a bad idea that someone never caught on wasn’t going to work. iphone==good idea… other mids==not so much. too must cost, not enough function and just not wanted.

  2. They are definitely dying off (excluding the iphone but that is phone not just a MID). I think the main problem was the price when they were introduced. At $400 it is just to much for the scaled down functionality. Even a gadget oriented person like myself avoided purchasing until the N800 reached the $200 mark. What I don’t understand is why Apple is not playing up more of the MID functionality of the iPod touch which would appeal to the business market and instead going for the gaming market.

  3. Nicely written.

    I don’t think Intel MIDs ever really had a chance for consumer stardom but they do have a chance to hit the PMP crowd and make waves. Archos see that too.

    @Michael. Yes, Intel MIDs havent really lived yet but dont you see a market for media devices with true, fast, desktop-style internet? A bit like the iPhone 3G and Archos 5G? The are MIDs and if Intel can get their partners up to speed, there’s opportunbity there.

    I keep my fingers crossed that someone, somewhere will continue what Apple and Archos are doing in the MID market. If Intel joing the party then fine, If not, then i’m sure others will fill the void.

  4. The thing is,

    Yes MID has come a bit late into the game since Netbooks filled in that gap.

    Most of these MID’s run Linux, where people want Windows XP.

    If the MID does run Windows, the processor most of the time is the slow 800mhz version of ATOM.

    If only there was a way to make the Lenovo U8 Ideapad into a cell phone, then you may have a niche there!

  5. I forgot to mention…

    There were two big candidates that were very close…

    The Nokia N810… all it was missing was a way to make cell phone calls

    Same goes for the HTC Shift, heck that device had dual booting from Vista to Win Mobile (stripped down version)

  6. lets just say it for what it is, the computer companies dont want any of these new products to undermine existing ones.

    also, i suspect many of the companies where not used to the level of software work needed.

    rather then just grabbing pre-packaged os A, slap on drivers B, C and D, and imaging it over their product line, they have to come up with the UI and all.

    thats why we see asus use xandros, acer use linpus and dell use ubuntu, those 3 replace microsoft as the os supplier.

    until we see something similar for mid (and i would suspect that the ubuntu netbook remix is a potential starting point) it will be slow going for all companies not used to do anything but repackage windows.

  7. MIDs, IPhones, UMPCs, Tablet PCs. Netbooks, Smart Phones, WIFI PMPs, PDAs, and Laptops. Wow, how many protable devices (with lots of blurry crossover) can exist together in a market and survive? Geeks love all this, but we can’t support all of these devices. Most of the non-geeks I know don’t know what 3/4 of these things are or are able to make sense of or use the ones they do know.

    Its no wonder these devices come and go so quickly. The biggest problem I see is that someone has a great idea for a device but little or no understanding of how to market it to the general public. I can’t remember that last cool TV or Magazine advertisement I’ve seen for 1/2 of the above list of items.

    Let’s face it, if you can’t explain it to the general public or really differentiate it (like was done with the IPhone) from other business tools/toys, few will buy it and it will die.

  8. It’s all about software. Microsoft didn’t step up. Linux sucks to develop on. Apple stole the show by creating an OS and SDK that’s easy to use.

  9. In all honesty whom of you would of loved to have had a Nokia N810, makes calls and yet run windows xp on it to run normal applications?

    Would you feel its still too big or just about as big as you would go on a portable device that can do it all?

  10. @rodfather

    more like linux is unfamiliar to the wintel “gurus” out there that have spent their lives using visual studio…


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