Today, the fastest growing segment of the mobile phone market is the smartphone. What seems to be some of the most compelling features to consumers are the instant access to their email, the ability to get to the web wherever they are, and the huge availability of applications addressing specific individual needs. Aren’t these the things we used to do on our PCs? Essentially today’s smartphones are small computers in our pockets or purses. While they are not our historic PCs, these smart mobile devices do most of what we used to do on our PCs but they do it anywhere and anytime, they are always on and always connected, they have intuitive friendly user interfaces, and they are truly mobile with all day active use and days of standby.
If you look at some of the topics at MWC 2010, you see Mobile Entertainment, A World of Applications, Completing the 2.0 Reality, Mobile Financial Services, and Mobile Broadband. Wasn’t it only a decade ago PCs were all about watching DVDs on your PC, new applications, browsing the internet, Online banking, and broadband connectivity? These uses are now available to the consumer anywhere, anytime, and on a broad assortment of innovative devices suited to the individual’s needs.
Looking at the technology advances in the mobile space you can see while this fundamental shift has occurred. Based on ARM processor cores, the mobile market has always delivered all day use and up to weeks of standby in devices that fit in your pocket. Historically they delivered voice services but today the ARM ecosystem is providing technology capable of delivering full web capability, HD video, and 3D graphics for enhanced UIs and gaming all while maintaining its low power heritage and all day use. The only difference now is they are also going beyond your pocket or purse into form factors traditionally associated with PCs as well as a range of new innovative designs.
- Nvidia released the Next Generation Tegra at CES 2010. The ARM CortexTM A9 SMP based Tegra has plenty of performance to run applications and browse the web. Add in the Nvidia 3D graphics and video processing and you have full HD with compelling UIs and gaming capable of addressing a broad range of computing applications even beyond smartphones.
- Freescale showed their smartbook reference design with a number of different operating systems including Android and Thundersoft Linux
- Also at CES, Marvell demonstrated a number of solutions targeting mobile devices including the next generation of eReaders capable of receiving real time content and browsing the internet.
- TI recently discussed this computing revolution and the momentum the ARM CortexTM A8 based OMAP3 is having in 2010 and hinted at their next generation ARM CortexTM A9 SMP based OMAP4. I look forward to seeing something at MWC this year.
Not only is the technology there, but the OEMs are delivering these new “computers”. Nokia’s N900 mobile computer and Motorola’s Droid are just a two of new devices recently released by historical handset companies. You also have Lenovo with their Skylight and LePhone, Dell with their mini5 tablet and HP’s Qualcomm based android smartbook all shown at CES 2010 representing new offerings from historical PC brands.
The computing world is in the midst of a major change toward mobility, usability, innovation and competition that is being enabled by an industry we once thought of as just “mobile phones.” Mobile World Congress has been the event in this space and as we enter the new decade I am looking forward to see all of the new “computers” and “computing technology” that are unveiled this year.
Be sure to stop by the ARM booth to see some of the great new offerings from ARM and the ARM ecosystem at Mobile World Congress 2010 Booth.
Jeff Chu, Segment Marketing Manager, Mobile Computing, ARM, has been on the forefront of ultra mobile computing for over 8 years. From webpads to smart displays to UMPC there has always been the criticism that it's not a real PC. Well, now the computing world is flipping and low power mobile gadgets are becoming the preferred way to consume content and interact with the web. To quote Victor Hugo “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
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