During the Ultra Mobility keynote, Anand Chandrasekher demonstrated the capabilities of the Intel Atom processor by playing World of Warcraft
and a 1080p video stream on an OQO device.
Chandrasekher said that the MID featured a single-core 1.86GHz Atom processor, but I wasn’t convinced by either demo.
First of all, the World of Warcraft
demo was of a character running around in an empty room and even then the framerate wasn’t exactly smooth – the frame rate was choppy and performance was poor. What’s more, I’d hate to see how the game ran in some of the more intensive PvP zones where there are actually other players running around.
Secondly, there was no mention of what video codec was used for the 1080p video stream. Yes, it was smooth, but I doubt that it’s encoded in h.264 based on the testing we’ve done in the labs with 720p h.264 video on an Atom processor. With high-bitrate streams, we found that the Atom processor could barely handle 720p, never mind 1080p.
During a roundtable with Chandrasekher, we asked what codec was used in the on-stage demo. He wasn’t 100 percent sure, but he was adamant that the chipset (and processor) can decode 1080p h.264 streams... with no mention of bitrate.
I can’t help but feel that Intel is clutching at straws with the current MIDs – they’re too bulky because, even though they’re pretty frugal when it comes to power and heat, they’re not frugal enough. To make matters worse, every device we’ve seen so far just doesn’t really have a distinct usage model – the best we’ve seen has been the Rugged Panasonic, which has no intention of targeting the consumer market.
We’ve seen nothing to suggest that Intel has really moved forwards since the advent (and failure) of the UMPC platform. Current MIDs just seem like more of the same with a slower, less capable processor to boot.
If anything, what we really need is Moorestown because at least when that arrives, there’ll be the opportunity to make devices that are sleek, stylish and could potentially replace a smartphone. For me, carrying an additional device that’s loosely classed as ‘pocket sized’ to get a rich and uncompromised Internet experience doesn’t wash – I’d rather just live without the Internet when I’m on the move.
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