Smartphones could soon merge with netbooks, as Intel and other manufacturers look for ways to combine the two form factors into new kinds of mobile Internet devices and handhelds. Will these new wireless devices catch on with road warriors and other mobile workers? Look for a new echelon of mobile internet device in the next few years. R.C.J.
Intel recently unveiled a concept design for a new echelon of mobile Internet device that merges the functionality of a smartphone and a netbook in a tablet-style device. Many netbooks today use Intel's Atom processor, but no smartphones do. So far, the smallest mobile Internet device that uses the Atom is Fujitsu's Lifebook Mini, which still has the netbook form factor and no phone. By proposing a new echelon of MIDs between smartphones and netbooks, Intel's People and Practices group hopes to stimulate OEMs worldwide to implement their vision of future Atom-based mobile devices.
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