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Summary:

As technology companies try to define the slew of devices that are smaller than a laptop or bigger than a smartphone, the mobile Internet device is one of the most vague. Basics such as screen size, whether or not it will have voice and other items […]

As technology companies try to define the slew of devices that are smaller than a laptop or bigger than a smartphone, the mobile Internet device is one of the most vague. Basics such as screen size, whether or not it will have voice and other items are still up for debate. Today I visited Texas Instrument’s in Dallas to see its version of the MID, which wraps some compelling base features around a primary application.

In TI’s worldview, an MID could be designed as a media player like the announced ARCHOS tablet I played with in the video below. It could also easily be a navigation-specific device or a gaming-focused one. But all the MIDs built on TI’s reference platform will have many of the same basic features such as cellular voice, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, as well as TI’s OMAP 3 processor. It will also include a base operating system running the hardware underneath a variety of consumer-facing operating systems from Windows 6.5 or Android to something specific to a manufacturer.

Seshu Madhavapeddy, general manager of TI’s MID unit, says the reference platform has helped computer makers, consumer electronics companies and even smartphone vendors create mobile Internet devices — and is a must to help these companies navigate the convergence of connectivity and computing.

As for TI’s MID strategy, it’s changed a bit from when I last spoke with the company in May of 2007. Madhavapeddy says the company is beefing up the clock speed, and is adding more available memory to the processor to augment all the things people want to do with OMAP, like running multiple applications on a smartphone.

  1. You can put un-DRMed iTunes H264 video downloads unto the Archos as well, just as it supports all other video formats DivX, Mpeg2, Mpeg1, wmv, and audio formats Ogg Theora, Flac, WMA, WMA-DRM, AC3, AAC and more..

    Full Youtube, Google Video and other flash sites supported, including the “High Quality” Youtube versions..

    Archos 5 is a 4.8″ screen, is lighter, more compact, still can have up to 250GB of storage..

  2. Oh yeah, coolest thing about Archos is that they have announced to be making an Android version of this type of device. Which means third party applications support with all the larger screen, higher resolution, much faster ARM Cortex processor, up to HD resolution video playback and all the other things that comes with that..

  3. I hope smartphone OSs eventually evolve to a concept where there is a common Linux platform with different installable “desktops” (e.g. Android/webOS/Symbian/Blackberry/etc.)…kinda like KDE & GNOME. This would be beneficial because:

    1. device vendors would be able to differentiate their devices with a unique user experience.
    2. component vendors would have fewer drivers to develop & support.
    3. consumers would theoretically be able to change “desktops”, without changing devices.
    4. the linux platform would be community developed & supported (versus being re-invented for every smartphone OS).
    5. the linux platform could be made portable to both ARM & x86 CPU architectures.

  4. I’m really looking forward to their future Android devices. I love my G1 but I’d like to see a more powerful device for games.

  5. If they can keep the price around $300 and battery life > 10 hours, this http://linuxdevices.com/news/NS9011409662.html tablet looks pretty interesting to me — note that it’s based on a modified BeagleBoard

  6. Texas Instrument Places a Risky Mobile Bet Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    [...] chips to power their smaller, cheaper devices. TI even seems to subscribe to the dumber PC model with its mobile Internet device strategy, which packages a lot of chips and software into one reference design for [...]

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