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September 20, 2007

Intel's latest on WiMax

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 1:47 PM

At the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Intel discussed Wednesday how it sees the mobile Internet taking shape.

Intel is one of the biggest investors in Kirkland-based Clearwire, and has huge commitments to the emerging WiMax wireless broadband technology.

It promised in a press release issued Wednesday that it will "usher in a new era of reliable broadband-connected wireless computing starting next year."

The way I understand this is that there will be a new category of devices that will come out for WiMax networks that are smaller than a laptop, but bigger than a phone. That category is largely being called UMPCs, for ultra-mobile PCs, but now Intel is also calling them Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs).

The deal with these devices is that, unlike a laptop, they are considered low power, so they could conceivably last you all day -- more like a cellphone. This is especially appealing if you have ever been at a conference and you are frantically trying to get some work done when you realize you are in the battery red zone and have to find an outlet immediately. The solution today usually includes looking under the skirts of several tables until you find an outlet, and then sitting on the floor.

However, Intel gave a different reason as to why this is important -- it said mobile WiMax will be needed because user-generated addicted people will need higher speeds to access high-definition videos, music, photos and other large data files on the go.

"In the first half of 2008, Intel will take a major step to deliver what these users are looking for with our first platform designed from the ground up for MIDs and UMPCs -- codenamed Menlow, which will deliver 10x lower power compared to the first UMPCs in the market. After Menlow our next-generation platform -- codenamed Moorestown, will increase battery life an order of magnitude by reducing idle power by 10x compared to Menlow," said Anand Chandrasekher, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group.

Here's a video Intel posted to YouTube that has Chandrasekher showing off a number of these devices. If you watch towards the end, there's one that looks like a stretched out iPhone.

If you didn't get enough in the last video, you can see a another presentation that's pretty silly. In this video, an Intel worker uses WiMax to prepare for jump off a cliff in Zion National Park. His friend at the bottom of the rock checks the weather and makes an payment on his buddy's health insurance.

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Tricia Duryee
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