Home EuropeEurope I 2009 Mobile Internet: a way of life

Mobile Internet: a way of life

by david.nunes
Author's PictureIssue:Europe I 2009
Article no.:4
Topic:Mobile Internet: a way of life
Author:Gordon G. Graylish
Title:Vice President, Sales and Marketing Group, Deputy General Manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa
Organisation:Intel Corporation
PDF size:326KB

About author

Gordon Graylish is Vice President of Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa and Deputy General Manager for the region. Mr Graylish’s expertise includes the areas of technological development, the disruptive impact of technology and the affect these have on corporate strategies and society. Mr Graylish joined Intel’s Canadian operation in 1982 and held a variety of sales and marketing positions there until transferred to Intel’s headquarters in Santa Clara. There he held a number of marketing management roles within Intel’s geography marketing organization and then in its business marketing unit. Mr Graylish later became director of Intel Architecture marketing for EMEA based in the United Kingdom. He was later responsible for Intel’s communications business, handling the sales and marketing of communications silicon products and solutions to wireless handset, network infrastructure and embedded computing customers. Mr Graylish subsequently directed Intel’s marketing and technical resources in EMEA before moving to his current role. Prior to Intel, Mr Graylish held a number of positions in systems sales and marketing for Burroughs and IBM. Gordon Graylish has a bachelor’s degree in Eastern European history from the University of Toronto.

Article abstract

Mobile computing is part of our lives. The pervasive nature of the Internet has enhanced recent developments including social networking, user-generated content and location-based services. People now carry this Internet experience with them in their pockets. In addition to notebook PCs, a range of new, ultra-portable devices, including smartphones, pocket-sized Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), and netbooks provide mobility in a range of packages that delivering powerful performance in increasingly smaller packages, the era of mobile personal computing has truly arrived.

Full Article

Given Moore’s Law – ‘doubling the number of transistors on an integrated circuit every two years, which in turn means delivering twice the performance, or cut costs and power equivalently’ – 2009 is set to be a very exciting year. Seven years ago, people would not have believed they could sit in their garden with a glass of wine, holding a video call with friends and family on the other side of the world. Today it is common, thanks to Moore’s Law and the rapid development of wireless technologies. People are increasingly reliant on the Internet for everything, from making friends to ordering from the supermarket and from booking holidays to navigating a foreign city. A recent survey even revealed that 46 per cent of women and 30 per cent of men would rather go without sex for two weeks than give up Internet access for the same amount of time1. In business, more people are working from home, or spending time travelling to meet customers, partners or suppliers. Mobile computing is no longer restricted to senior executives and sales representatives; organisations are now seeing the benefit of extending mobile devices to the entire workforce. Notebook PCs are replacing desktops at a rapid rate, and in some organisations over 80 per cent of the workforce have already made this transition. Innovation-led Today’s mobile devices offer multiple choices dependent upon lifestyle and requirements. A notebook PC is the cornerstone of mobile computing; it offers the best performance on the go, and access to the enormous range of applications and diverse content built for the PC and the Internet. Smartphones make it possible to get mail anytime, anywhere, but there is a gap in the middle between the notebook and the smartphone. Smartphones offer imperfect Internet access and the screens are too small for many Internet-based services and content. Notebook PCs are not easy to fire up on the move, are quite bulky, and cannot be operated on a battery for a full day. Thanks to Moore’s Law, though, as well as the rapid evolution of wireless technologies such as 3G, HSPA, Wifi and WiMAX combined with advances in seamless connectivity the mobile Internet gets more and more pervasive. New companion devices are being introduced to the market to complement the traditional notebook PC. Using an entirely new manufacturing processes, high-performing, low-power processor have recently arrived on the market, specifically for new mobile devices like MIDs (mobile Internet devices) and netbooks, but completely compatible with the PC and the Internet. Optimised for longer battery life, such processors enable users to stay unplugged for longer. People can play games, watch movies and listen to more music on their trips away from home. Business executives gain extended use while travelling. Ultimately it will be the end-user who decides which new mobile form factors will succeed and which will fail. You can expect many different variants as this new mid-sized category unfolds Rich mobile experience Notebook PCs typically have a full-size keyboard and a screen 11 to 19 inches in size. They provide powerful performance, long battery life and expansive connectivity. Superior functionality provides a richer user experience, supports multi-tasking, content creation and media rich content manipulation. Notebook PCs can be used to run processor-intensive applications such as video editing, watching HD DVDs, playing competitive online games or ripping a CD. They can archive everything from photos, video and music, to taxes and homework. There are models to suit a wide range of uses – from best-in-class notebook PCs that combine sleek, elegant designs with superior performance through to entry-level notebook PCs. Content consumption Netbooks have a similar look and feel to notebook PCs with a keyboard and screens that are up to 10 inches in size. However, they lack the full range of notebook facilities. Compact, with a long battery life and low in price, netbooks are ideally suited to people looking for a secondary, ultra-portable mobile device to access the Internet, email or instant messenger, while on the go. Netbooks are designed to consume rather than create content. According to DisplaySearch, more than 14 million netbooks were sold in 2008 alone2, and their popularity will continue to rise throughout 2009. For people in emerging markets, a netbook may be the first step in accessing the Internet. In mature markets, they are popular among teenagers, whose primary need is to access the Internet, or in schools. Pocket Internet MIDs provide the best possible Internet experience in a pocket-sized device. They are smaller than netbooks and notebook PCs, with a screen size of 4-6 inches, and feature an intuitive user-friendly interface. MIDs are ideal for Internet consumption: video, music, games, instant messenger, browsing, blogging and email. Some designs even offer GPS and location-based services. They can double up as portable media players and connected navigation devices, and are compatible with most software. MIDs are expected to show long-term growth thanks to the increasingly pervasive nature of the Internet. ABI research, for example, expects MID shipments worldwide will be in excess of 130 million units by 20133. The majority are expected to be bought by consumers, but they will also be used by professionals who need quick access to the Internet in places where a notebook PC might not be convenient: the back of a taxi, on the train or in the street, for example. For service providers, they offer the potential of a two-sided business model, meaning the service provider can act as a middleman that facilitates consumer access to content and services – to the best the Internet can offer. Fit for purpose In addition to MIDs and netbooks, new categories of innovative mobile devices that serve specific user requirements have also emerged. Mobile clinical assistants enable nurses to access and update electronic patient records in real-time. They improve productivity and increase the accuracy of patient records, thereby improving patient safety and ultimately raising the overall level of care. Designs are typically lightweight, spill-resistant, robust and easily disinfected. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology provides easy, rapid user logon; a digital camera facilitates patient charting and progress notes and keeps track of wounds as they heal. Bluetooth technology helps capture patient vital signs, such as temperature and blood pressure. Netbooks specifically designed for children, like the Classmate PC design, are a powerful instructional tool for teachers; they also prepare students to use technology and learn the skills they will need once they enter the job market. They are durable and rugged in design for day-to-day use, and are small, lightweight and easy to carry. Developed in conjunction with educational professionals, they offer practical, education-oriented features that improve the learning experience. Into the future The mobile evolution does not stop here. As innovation continues apace, the coming years will witness the arrival of more devices tailored to meet specific user needs. Processors with even lower power consumption will extend the full Internet experience to smartphones and to ‘Communication MIDs’. Supporting a range of wireless technologies including 3G, WiMAX, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and Mobile TV on a pocket-sized device, the Communication MID will push the boundaries of mobile, personal computing into another dimension. Mobile devices will also become context-aware – that is, they will provide information to users when they want it, how they want it, anticipating requirements based on their location. Shoppers, for example, could take a photograph of an item they are considering purchasing using their MID, which would then search for relevant product reviews and user comments. Drawing from principles proposed by MIT physicists, the Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP) promises to deliver safe and efficient power, without the need to ‘plug in’. In a process called ambient energy harvesting, WISP sensors will harness power from the environment such as vibrations and body heat. A notebook PC’s battery could be charged whenever it is within several metres of a transmitting resonator, perhaps in an airport or coffee shop. Looking even further into the future, mobile devices may even be able to change their physical form to suit the way they are being used. Millions of tiny micro-robots called ‘catoms’ could be used to create shape-shifting materials. If used to replace the case, display and keyboard of a computing device, a mobile computer could be tiny when it is in its owner’s pocket, change into the shape on an earpiece when they need to make a phone call, and then become large and flat with a keyboard for watching films. This technology is not ‘just around the corner’, but it won’t be long before it becomes reality.

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