Let’s go back to 2007 when the industry was in just giving up on UMPCs moving onto MIDs. Behind this industry fever was a number of companies that were intent to bring PC technology down to a mobile device. At that same time of course the mobile industry was moving quickly to bring the internet and other PC like features to an increasing capable set of smartphones.
Back then, I was lucky enough to be dispatched as part of a team to investigate the device space emerging between the smartphone and the PC. Our team would be meeting with a range of UMPC/MID zealots and industry skeptics on a tour that would take us pretty much around the world. As I am not known to be subtle I had to ask – if a UMPC was not as capable as a smartphone and was just like a PC but worse, then why is a MID different?
Think back to that time, mobile phones were coming fully loaded with Cortex-A8 class processors, graphics processors, and very thankfully more memory. We had processors capable of hours of browsing and days of standby and the software guys like Mozilla and Adobe were starting to move towards mobile platforms.
The UMPC and MID devices that adopted a PC mentality were larger, had limited connectivity (usually just Wifi) and a terrible battery life when compared to advanced smartphones. The software was still very much a PC-like experience targeted to a smaller device that usually led to frustration as the device had more limiting UI.
So while we concluded that UMPCs or MIDs were not much of a device proposition, accelerating the adoption of mobile internet features across a range of devices like smartphones and navigation devices made a lot of sense – especially for ARM.
So here we are in 2010 much older and wiser – right? UMPCs and MIDs in their original incarnation are basically dead and for the last year or two Netbooks have been all the rage. I have to say that the X86 commercial devices have so far shown limited promise. I do love the small form-factor, but I think there is no excuse for not having a much longer battery life, full HD content, and world-class connectivity. Of course those features and more are made possible with the ARM-based smartbooks that are hitting shelves this year.
Now I am a big proponent of a diverse consumer market place, but I can’t help but ask myself in a market place with smarter smartphones, exciting new tablets and ARM based smartbooks, will traditional Netbooks go the way of UMPCs and MIDs?
Let us know what you think. Post your comment or send us an email at Tell.email@example.com
Kerry McGuire, Director of Strategic Marketing, ARM, Growing up in a tiny little technology town and then moving to Austin to work in the mobile industry has led to a lifetime of being a technology groupie. Fascinated by the changing technical industry and the impact of technology on society trends, she enjoys watching the industry evolve by working with the best of ARM’s partners.
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